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With all the whining the Detroit arts community does about the lack of intelligent dialogue in this community, blaming both the media and the general public, it’s surprising — or perhaps, telling — that artist Ann Gordon offers the only well-known blog dedicated to covering the metro-area art scene.

Detroitarts (detroitarts.blogspot.com) is the young artist’s attempt to vent about the good, the bad and the ugly, whether she’s covering a local exhibition, a television commercial promoting national arts funding or the annual Whitney Biennial in Manhattan. Gordon, 24, is a College for Creative Studies graduate who specialized in painting. Currently, the artist works as the gallery director at TRA Art Group, so she’s well-versed in more than one aspect of the art world. She got the idea for her site from the Los Angeles-based blog (art.blogging.la), featuring visual art previews and reviews, as well as interviews with professionals.

Not even a year old yet, Gordon’s site isn’t as advanced as the Los Angeles-based site. And certainly most visual art blogs have a long way to go to get as good as the one widely considered the most influential in the world: Tyler Green’s four-year-old site Modern Art Notes, (artsjournal.com/man), hosted by ArtsJournal.com. Based in Washington, D.C., Green’s blog would be overwhelming if it wasn’t so well-organized, dividing its coverage of the national contemporary scene into such categories as visual arts, theater, dance, media and more.

But the local community and other arts bloggers across the nation are beginning to appreciate the content of Gordon’s site, which, on any given day, showcases an image of a painting she likes or a longer text-based rant about the local scene. Averaging about 700 hits a month, Gordon says visitors are more eager to respond to her postings when she throws her two cents in rather than merely reporting on the scene, and especially when she criticizes the field of art criticism. Here’s an excerpt from her recent posting in which she mouths off about the language used by Village Voice art critic Jerry Saltz. The following commentary inspired an interesting dialogue between her and another local artist:

“I hate when art critics write about art in a way that it seems like a second language. I squint my eyes and slowly try and grasp the run-on jerk-off description. I understand art terminology and slang but how can the average person get into art reviews when the people reviewing it are acting ‘too smart’ for their own good?”

In the context of local arts coverage, Gordon has a good thing going. She’s certainly able to cover more ground than any print publication, and the personal nature of blogging lets her adopt a more conversational tone, making her blog more approachable for audiences who may otherwise be intimidated by art writing. Plus, she says, her blog forces her to get out and really take a good look at the art she sees, rather than simply spot who shows up at an opening. More of us should follow her lead. —Rebecca Mazzei

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