Installation, Can I Get a Witness, 2011

Installation, Can I Get a Witness, 2011

Joshua Abelow set out to create a personal, visual archive through his blog, “ART BLOG ART BLOG,” but within a year he was getting up to 900 hits a day from over 125 countries. Less than two years later, the blog has materialized into a physical, artist-run gallery space, ART BLOG ART BLOG, with nine independently curated exhibitions, open through October 29, in a donated space located in Chelsea at 508 West 26th St, Floor 11.

“ART BLOG ART BLOG” (the blog) emerged in early 2010 as an important way for Abelow to build a community over the web and engage with artists in other cities. Now back in New York, Abelow maintains his blog as a diaristic visual journal, with daily posts including other artists’ work, book and album covers, posters, personal work and photographs, poems and quips, and more. I had a chance to sit down with Abelow, and the curators of the upcoming exhibition, “Can I Get a Witness?” to find out more about the project.

Artcards: How did you start the blog? Where do you find your material for the blog?

Joshua Abelow: I guess I never set out to create a “blog” so much as an archive, a means of keeping a visual journal for myself. I find the blog format interesting because of the immediacy.  Instant contact with a relatively wide audience is the exact opposite of what it’s like to be alone in the studio all day.

I often find out about other artists’ works through the Internet and by sifting through emails. The material I post is a mix of other artists’ work and my own personal contributions. I take a diaristic approach to posting…I see it as a visual radio show and in that sense it is important for me to update the site regularly.  It also gives me something to do when I’m waiting for paint to dry and I don’t feel like sharpening pencils or stretching canvases or whatever.

Do you read other blogs? Also, I find a lot of art-related blogs to be criticism-based; do you read any art criticism?

I look at a few other blogs like, AH HOLE AH HOLE (published, or rather curated by Tisch Abelow and Dakatoh Savage).  It is more like an art project than a blog – I’d love to see it projected on a big wall every morning when I wake up. I also look at ANABA, KCLOG and HKJBLOG regularly.

As for art criticism, I like to read what my peers’ are writing. I enjoy 16 Miles of String (Andrew Russeth) because it’s art criticism from a younger point of view and he covers a lot of stuff that bigger publications overlook.

How did “ART BLOG ART BLOG”, the blog, turn into “ART BLOG ART BLOG,” the gallery?

Ross Bleckner invited me to use his studio space to organize some shows for the summer and fall.  The project is a group effort and I’ve invited several individuals and groups to curate shows in the space.  Jon Lutz (Daily Operation), NUDASHANK, and Regina Rex have all presented exhibitions in the space thus far.  It’s funny and interesting to see a blog go 3D.  The exhibition space is a direct extension of the blog, which is why I gave it the same name.

There’s a lot of hard work going into this and, of course, it would not be possible without Ross’s generosity (thank you Ross!). It would also not be possible without all of the talented people involved. The spirit of the project is one of generosity: the space was a gift from one artist to another, which is a gift to many other artists. It’s exciting to be exhibiting work by both emerging and established artists, unknowns mixed in with bigger names. In a way, this is reflective of the Internet – a weird flattening device that levels the playing field.  This project, both the blog and the gallery, provides me with a chance to examine this moment as we proceed further into the 21st century.

Can I Get a Witness? postcard

Artcards: What can we expect from the newest show, “Can I Get A Witness?” How was the show curated between the three of you?

Abelow/Friedrich/Savage: We are exhibiting works by Joshua Abelow, Matt Connolly and Joachim ‘YoYo’ Friedrich. We also have a reading corner featuring artists books by Kevin Gallagher, Lukas Geronimas, The Kingsboro Press, Davida Nemeroff and Eric Veit.

While researching for the show, it became clear that Matt, Joshua, and YoYo’s work cosmically related. We found it interesting that the artists whose work was the strongest together happened to be ‘the men in our life.’ The curatorial process came about only in the most natural way. Including the reading corner is a way for us to support other emerging artists we admire and because punk lives.

Can I Get a Witness?”curated by Tisch Abelow, Jashin Friedrich, and Dakotah savage, opening on Thursday, July 14, will be the fourth exhibition at ART BLOG ART BLOG.  Up next for Joshua Abelow is a solo exhibition at Tomorrow Gallery in Toronto, Canada, who will also be publishing the book, “Painter’s Journal,” a diaristic journal in six parts about Abelow’s experience as a young artist moving to New York at the turn of the century.

A full version of this interview can be found here.

ART BLOG ART BLOG is located at 508 West 26th Street, Fl 11. Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 12-6pm. More info: