"The Affect of Animated GIFs" has a new home -- the Wayback Machine

James Elkins' 2003 book "What Happened to Art Criticism?" explains the absence of academic or peer-reviewed writing on contemporary art. In short, professors get no credit for it and are encouraged by their schools to write about older, more established subjects. Contemporary art discussion is relegated to newspaper ephemera, advertiser-supported art mags, and paid-for catalog essays.
Thus, it was mildly exciting when Art & Education was launched in the late 2000s and began publishing footnoted essays on contemporary art subjects. In 2009 they announced several such papers (hyperlinks omitted):

Eric M. Wolf

Also, Stephanie Cotela Tanner compares the films of Roberto Rossellini with the art of Renato Guttuso; Sally McKay considers three artists who employ animated GIFs; and Vittoria Martini writes on the history of the Giardini and its role in the Venice Biennale, in a text reprinted from Muntadas/On Translation: I Giardini (2005).

For submissions or inquiries, email papers@artandeducation.net

While A&E Papers facilitates the distribution of scholarly articles online, the authors maintain responsibility for all content published in the A&E Papers database.

My work is discussed in the Sally McKay paper above, titled "The Affect of Animated GIFs." I had linked to it from my resume and press clip pages for several years, until the link went dead recently. I emailed Art & Education and got this reply:

Thank you for your email. Please note that we haven't had Papers listed on our site for over five years!

You can retrieve this paper via the Wayback Machine at archive.org:


The exclamation point in the email translated roughly as "you idiot," so I emailed back:

I'm sure I've checked the link more recently than five years ago (link rot is a constant problem for artists with web documentation) but whatever you say.
Thank the deities for the Internet Archive.

Art & Education replied:

When we renewed our website in July 2017, all the old links that did not correspond to current content on the site became nonfunctional. But we delisted Papers from our site in 2012. The unlisted links might still have been functional but were not directly accessible from our menu.

This rather begged the question of "why" so I asked:

Why did you delist the papers? it's not very fair to the writers and artists involved. Hosting is cheap, it seems unlikely it was cost-based.

And received this reply (re-read what I wrote above about Elkins on the absence of peer-reviewed journals and prepare to cringe):

We did not have the editorial team to maintain that aspect of the site, and also we shifted our focus in a different direction. We are not the right platform to solicit and edit academic papers. That is better suited for a peer-reviewed journal.

It should be noted that when Art & Education launched it was touted as a joint project of e-flux and Artforum. A & E currently acts as a paid bulletin board for announcements from art museums, galleries, and schools, which is what e-flux does. E-flux still maintains the E-flux Journal, which is more in the nature of an art magazine than a scholarly journal. (You may recall that E-flux, brainchild of artist Anton Vidokle, recently paid $185,000 to acquire the .art domain and lost.)
Why the Art & Education papers were abandoned to the Wayback Machine, and not simply moved over to the E-flux Journal, is a matter for further research.

link rot central

You worked hard in art school. You developed a style. You found an appreciative gallery, had a show, and got your first reviews. Unfortunately these reviews were all online, so that, five years later, your CV has become a collection of...


It could be worse -- your reviews could all be on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, buried somewhere in the cloud, invisible to search engines. Or, for that matter, they could all be in print publications, findable only by searching The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature in the hulled-out remains of a local library, gutted by neoliberal austerity programs. Ultimately you will need a good memory and belief in the value of your contribution to keep the show on the road, because you can't count on the gatekeepers to keep their own shows running.

I regularly find broken links in my personal legitimation script. This suggested a snake-eating-its-tail regular feature for the blog called "link rot central," mentioning some notable links and information or theorizing about why they failed. These will be indexed under the category link-rot-central.

See also: if-you-love-something-let-it-go