All Blogs Must Pass

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The Death of Socrates, Jacques-Louis David, 1787/The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

“All blogs must pass away.”

Okay, apologies to the spirit of George Harrison for that one, but it sums up the purpose of today’s post — to lay “Looking Around” to rest.

I started this blog in early 2007 as a way to get beyond the weekly newsmagazine format I usually work in and to comment on the daily scrum of news about art and architecture. For almost three years now it’s been a challenge, a steep learning curve and frequently a lot of fun.

But it has also required the kind of workload I associate with old movies where Egyptian slaves drag large blocks on sledges to the top of some pyramid. The first thing I do every morning — even before I turn to the other things that I do as a critic for this magazine and its burgeoning website — is decide what things are worth talking about that day in the fields I cover and what it’s worthwhile to say about them. (You be the judge on how well I did in that department.) Then I write the post, track down the relevant images and check the thing over and over again — not always to perfection. Note to self — pavilion has one “l”; O’Keeffe has two “f’s.

Within a month after I started blogging it was clear to me that a daily blog is also quite a daily grind. I may be mistaken, but I think I’ve been the only critic at any major American newspaper or magazine who maintains a daily artsblog that’s also a one-person operation. (Though Blair Kamin, the tireless architecture critic of The Chicago Tribune, comes pretty close.) “Looking Around” was a blog that could feel sometimes like a sentry post.

So as a way to re-order my own priorities, double down on other writing and cut myself some slack, I’ve decided that at the end of this week I will join the distinguished ranks of former bloggers. (And let’s be clear — this a step I’m taking on my own initiative, not at the request of any of my editors, though obviously I got their agreement.) Going forward, I expect to go right on doing the things I do for the magazine and the homepage of, which is to say, writing about art and architecture, hopefully in useful ways. As mentioned, you be the judge.