Not content with Tim Abrahams’ misdirected broadside against architecture blogs last spring — which badly missed its target by calling out the explicitly curatorial Things Magazine for failing the project of architecture criticism — Blueprint has now printed a similarly misdirected second salvo against various prominent architecture bloggers, again accusing them of not being sufficiently concerned with the thing — criticism of buildings — that they have never claimed to be particularly concerned with.
Helpfully, Geoff Manaugh has scanned that article, written by Peter Kelly and entitled “The New Establishment”, and you can read it here, along with his response, which argues that it is rather odd for Kelly to complain about a lack of “criticism of significant new buildings” on blogs which claim to do nothing of the sort. (To read Kelly’s article, you’ll need to click on and enlarge the images that Geoff has provided.)
What really puzzles me about “The New Establishment” is that, above and beyond this misdirection of its critical aim, exceptionally well-established blogs like Archidose and sit down man, you’re a bloody tragedy (or even Christopher Hawthorne’s pieces for the LA Times‘ Culture Monster blog) — which do traffic in the criticism of buildings — are not mentioned.
I think that’s what makes the piece feel less like the non-antagonistic argument that Anonymous 7:09 describes in the comments of Geoff’s post (“[Kelly] is questioning why, in an age of digital media, there is not a blog, just as popular as BLDGBLOG, that feeds the desire of Kelly, me, you and lots of others for critical analysis of new architectural design”) and more like a specific attack on the legitimacy of blogging about architecture in more expansive or less building-centric ways.
(Which, by the way, hardly bothers me. I’m a landscape architect. Of course I don’t write about architecture like an architecture critic.)
I wrote about Abrahams’ complaint last spring here — note that, as misdirected as it was, I do think there is value in it, just as Geoff notes that there is value in Kelly’s call for more and better architectural criticism — and rounded up various responses to his complaint here.
Edit: Abrahams’ post does not appear to be available anymore, so the link at the top of this post is rather broken.