Post-Office was started at the end of 2014 as a critical platform with the mission of prioritizing artist-run activity in Baltimore. This impulse has, since the beginning, operated under the notion that critique is inherently both generous and generative, ideally fueling a conversation that brings about new work, work that is more driven, more critical, and more interrogating than its predecessor. When the broader landscape of art criticism by and large adopts the M.O. of “critique by omission,” critical conversations disappear, and work that engages in more ambivalently held subject-matter and methodologies becomes invisible.
Since those earliest articles, the project shifted and transformed into various shapes for what felt useful in the broader scheme of things. In the meantime, the need for critique in artist-run spaces has not changed, but the context and the role of critique, documentation, and circulation both in Baltimore and outside of it has changed. In that light, today marks the end of Post-Office as an active publication and marks its new role as archive, one that holds the discussions that were being held during its run and which holds documentation of the projects it revolved around.
Looking forward, it’s a fact that running artist-run spaces changed after Oakland’s Ghost Ship Fire, but its also important to note that the agency available to artists for affecting existing institutions has changed as well. Hopefully, this archive might inform future critical impulses in Baltimore and beyond. This shift coincides with the end of some kindred projects (Temporary Art Review, St. Louis) and the transformation of others (Chicago Artist Writers, Chicago) to go beyond the realm of artist-run activity, so perhaps there’s a broader shift that we feel, going forward.
Thank you for your support over the years, cheers.
Peace to Marilyn Mosby, Nick Mosby, Carl Stokes, No Boundaries Coalition, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, Joseph Kent, the Gray Family, Baltimore’s community leaders, Elijah Cummings, and everyone for being out there. Only the beginning!
Post-Office is excited to publish an episode from the newly unveiled podcast project, The Human Eye, by Max Guy and Miranda Pfeiffer. Max and Miranda have produced pieces of dialogue in the forms of publication and exhibition for several years in Baltimore, so it is a treat to hear a transparent continuation of that process in yet another format while they each continue their studio work in Chicago and L.A., respectively. This specific conversation talks about the role of “the hobby” in the life of an artist, that is, the activity that avoids being instrumentalized by/sucked into an artist’s studio practice. Bettina Yung’s playlist at the end is killer, too.
Listen to Human Eye, Episode 3 : Hobbies and sign up for the Mailing List at the bottom of the page to receive notifications about this production.
POST-OFFICE ARTS JOURNAL is a critical platform aiming to respond to the prolific output in Baltimore’s alternative arts venues as well as a publication space for open-ended essays/thought exercises both related to and not related to the arts.
It is founded with a few specific thoughts in mind. The first is that Baltimore’s arts are growing quickly and demand a new voice that can join the currently strong (but limited) writing landscape in this city. The creativity found in this city is unique and fecund. A goal is to reduce the amount of programming that goes unaddressed. When shows go up and come down without receiving proper consideration and dialogue, opportunities for development and conversation are lost. Critical writing is important for more than just audience, it is a resource useful to artists and venues alike as a way to maintain emphasis on discourse as well as to better document the multitude of impulses that are felt in this city.
Post-Office is interested in a criticism that doesn’t necessarily cheerlead cultural production, that is able to observe exhibitions, events, and actions for their quality, their intentions, their craft, and their timeliness. Having an accessible platform available to record these thoughts for current and future reflection is valuable. POAJ will morph and change over time as it gains a better sense for where it fits in the cultural dialogue to best cater to these interests.
At its outset, POAJ is a digital space that encourages submissions from artists, curators, students, writers, and non-writers. Aside from strict “arts writing,” POAJ is interested in open-ended essay writing that is interested in developing thoughts on topics on design, economics, social interaction, history, etc.
If you would like to pitch a review or an essay, send us a quick note atpostofficeartsjournal (at) gmail (dot) combefore starting so we can talk first. We’re interested in reviews between 750 and 1,250 words, but are always flexible depending on the case. We look forward to hearing from you!