THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DESK is a non-traditional platform for cultural commentary because when it comes to critical writing, about art or literature, the required standard involves a certain rarified language. Critical writing about art tends to be a translation of means, and that is why the language takes on a certain breathlessness from time to time, or crowds the reader with complex idioms. Even when the critical themes are freely chosen by the writer, and some of the examples provided by artists both familiar and admired, the task remains momentous.

To write a simple newsletter seems to me a lazy way to go about things. I have no real “news” to share except for the truths that emerge from my own mind in  the process of writing. There are different levels of discourse, not all of which I have yet touched upon, but I am preparing to offer contextual analysis, for instance, upon the market forces that have historically paved the way for certain artists to achieve career success, or which, taking into consideration current trends and attitudes, how we all might aid them in such an endeavor. The kinds of artists that attract me critically have, by and large, focused their discipline to construct new models for historically important  themes and genres.

I want to focus on artists who are not art-world famous on a level approaching household names, because I feel that what many young artists lack is the presentation of an appropriate critical context, so that their ideas and expressions can enter into a public discourse. One assumes that gallery representation will in some way embody these aspects, but even galleries are dependent upon arts publications, and the choices of their writers and editors, to gain critical attention. As an independent voice with a self- managed platform, I can contribute more to what I feel is both a noble and a necessary role. As far as interviews are concerned, my primary interest is in artist-run spaces and other art world professionals who run organizations that benefit artists. I am also interested to write focus pieces on far-flung scenes here and abroad, so that we can all peer into different versions of a shared creative ferment and know the institutions and individuals that support it.

Recently I started A READING SPACE as a second Substack on this site to write about literature, the pleasure and magic of reading, and the life of the mind in general. I have always been a writer of fiction as well as criticism, though that side of my creativity has remained private. I own an immense library of books in many genres and on many subjects, and my engagement with stories, plays, poems, and more has always inhabited a large part of my active thinking as well as my engagement with art and artists. I am working on essays about writers who have meant a lot to me, on new writers as I discover them, on specific books marginalized or forgotten, and on specific genres or themes of writing. I particularly love fiction, being a fiction writer myself, so stories and novels are high priorities. Rarely will I write about art history or criticism, though it’s not out of the realm of possibility. I prefer to have art and non-art interests.

Future plans for THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DESK include a series of interviews with artists who have started galleries or performance spaces or who manage artist talk series. I am also interested in interviewing prominent arts professionals whose primary activity provides opportunities for artists to make art and be  exhibited.

Also I will be writing a series of articles on artists featured here in terms of market analysis, their potential for being sucessfullly collected and exhibited in institutional settings. These posts will be available only to Paid Subscribers.


David Gibson