Archive for the The Utne Reader Category

Alas, good gentle souls who still read CAFA, my humble apologies for not posting in many, many months. Please be assured it is through no fault of yours. It is merely the result of my own changing life circumstances.

To report on said circumstances and the reasons why CAFA languishes, here’s what I’ve been up to over the past year or so:

  • After a six-month layoff from meaningful daytime employment, I have found work enough to sustain myself for the time-being, and it’s completely outside the art world (phew!); though, of course, adjusting to new employment, new expectations, a new work environment and culture, etc. means less time for things like blogging about artistic failure.
  • Baby CAFA — a.k.a., the light of my life — now 17-months of age, continues to grow and develop and slowly gain some independence for herself; yet, it will be some years until she can be expected to blog alongside me instead of her current habit of inserting madcap and unreadable keystrokes and spaces anytime she comes near a keyboard I happen to be working on. Again, not a great support for free and unfettered blogging.
  • That does not mean I’ve given up blogging (nor art) altogether — since October I have written regularly for the venerable Utne Reader at their online Arts portal.

[Please note: You can, in fact, keep tabs on what writing I still manage to do by checking out the one area of this blog that remains active: The Writer’s Archive for Michael Fallon.]

[Also note: If you want less-fettered access to me than you get from the Artistic Failure blog, you can always Facebook-friend me at my other, somewhat inactive identity, ArtHappyHour.]

[And final note: If you have ideas for art stories, want to take (respectful) issue with something I’ve written, have questions, or need to reach out, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email. I’d love to know what you’re thinking!]

[Viva la Failure!]

First, some rare good news: The Chronicle of Artistic Failure in America has learned that one of its blog postings, the first of a two-parter about the Colorado artist Dean Fleming, was picked up this week by the website of the Minneapolis-based magazine, The Utne Reader. Thanks to the Reader for their interest in this unusual artist, and in the Chronicle of Artistic Failure in America.

To read more about Fleming, you can also go to this post. To read more in general about struggling, aging artists go here.

Meanwhile, the bigger news this past week in Minnesota was the demise of the monthly feature magazine The Rake. Now, some would say–in a market where the local papers have downsized significantly over the past few years (cutting numerous arts and cultural writing position), where the local newsweekly has fired and replaced its entire writing/editorial staff over the past year, and where the local media market is constantly in flux–the loss of The Rake was just another blip on the path to local media/cultural/practical illiteracy.

It’s not putting too fine a point on things to say that all local publishers (and media professionals) are running scared. “Things have changed radically in the last six years, and I think it’s going to get worse long before it gets better,” Rake Publisher Tom Bartel said. “It’s too expensive to produce journalism and then have Google come along and take all your advertising.” “At best, these are challenging times, maybe even recessionary times,” said John Rash, a senior vice president at advertising agency Campbell Mithun who follows the media market and writes a monthly column for the Star Tribune. “While there is some tremendous journalism on websites and in smaller publications, it is more difficult to monetize it, both locally and nationally. Newspapers themselves have struggled.” “We think the next 18 months are going to be tough for advertising in general,” said Deborah Hopp, publisher of Mpls.St.Paul magazine, based in Minneapolis. “Our expectation is that, around here, weaker players will fall by the wayside.”

For purposes of our interest in artistic failure, however, the loss of The Rake hits home because this publication was particularly invested in and involved with the arts locally—initiating a quarterly arts insert (and a celebratory event) called 10,000 Arts, hiring a former arts writer as their editor-in-chief (which meant lots of interest in arts writing), and partnering with and supporting a number of local arts organizations on a range of projects.

The Rake will be missed…

By the way, as a separate, but related note: I wasn’t even aware that the Utne Reader still existed, were you?…