Ten years ago today, I started this site. At the time I was working in politics and social justice. The firm for which I was working thought work was about to become mighty thin for a few years: After all, after what happened on 9/11, who would care about civil rights and social justice? (As it turned out: Not the Bush administration…)
I started writing a blog mostly so I’d have something to do during what I expected would be the quiet months ahead. It started as a kind of personal notebook, an unrelated series of random musings on art. When I discovered better software, it became a “web log.” At some point it turned into what you see here. [Image: Wayne Thiebaud, Chocolate Cake, 1971. Collection of Tate.]
I hope that the over-riding theme of this blog has been that art and the content of that art is what that matters most, that the peripheral noise — openings, parties, wealth, glitz, and various forms of PR-manufactured silliness — matters very little. I love and value that art has the power to speak to issues that politicians can’t or won’t, to raise questions that don’t have binary answers, to provoke in ways that are useful and essential.
Yesterday provided a reminder of that. The observances of the 9/11 anniversary that filled my TV and computer screens were full of 100-yard American flags, red-white-and-blue football cleats and other hyper-patriotism. I wondered how the world would be different if over the last decade we had questioned our leaders as energetically as we’ve celebrated our patriotism.
Many artists have. (I’ve tried to document that here in posts about how artists examine the American flag, how they have considered torture and national responsibility for other shameful acts and how they have made work about 9/11.) That’s been a source of great comfort and thought for me. I’ve tried to share some of that with y’all here.
Thanks to Blouin Media for supporting the site, for enabling the reporting, criticism and other fun things that make up MAN. I know it doesn’t always seem like it, but I’ve had a great time meeting hundreds of you and corresponding with thousands of you. (Let’s face it: One reason I love art is that I’m often better with inanimate objects than I am with humans.)
Most of all, thanks for reading, for visiting this site as often as you do. You’re why I’m able to write about what I love most.