From the Archives: Shotgun!

September 3 2013


September 3, 2013. Art Practical's origins lie with Shotgun Review, a periodic online, crowd-sourced assemblage of reviews written by over ninety contributors during its five-year existence (2005-2009). All of the site's reviews reside now in Art Practical's archive, and its legacy is reflected in both the continuity of writers and the Shotgun Review section of our site, an open forum in which anyone from the community is invited to contribute a short and timely critique of an exhibition they saw. Shotgun Reviews have been incorporated into our partner publication, Daily Serving, and will remain a feature of the new website we're launching on September 12.
In anticipation of that launch, I look back to the moment just prior to Art Practical's debut in October 2009, when we offered a last hurrah to Shotgun Review with  contributions by thirty writers, all published on the same day; we called it the Shotgun Round. For the past three seasons, Art Practical has begun its issue year with a Shotgun Round, and the outcome has been a trove of insights into and snapshot of the Bay Area visual arts culture. Scanning the archive of shotgun reviews, one immediately recognizes the fluidity of the scene: the preoccupations of particular moments that dovetail with larger political and social currents; the anxiety of the economic downturn and more recently, how its recovery has impacted San Francisco; and the influx and migration of people corresponding to the emergence of some spaces and the closure of others. Taken together, these reviews translate from traces of prior activities into a slowly and continually etched portrait of who we are or aspire to be, rendered in the pentimenti of many voices. In other words, the shotgun reviews encapsulate Art Practical'mission and goals. So we end our archive series with a last hurrah to Art Practical's original format and present you with thirty-four shotgun reviews from the past four years, a small fraction of the over two hundred we have produced to date. And next week we look forward to celebrating with you the start of Year 5. Enjoy – PM
This issue is dedicated to Alyse Mason Brill, Art Practical's Shotgun Review editor from 2010 to 2013, whose patience, insight, and encouragement enabled the wealth of disparate voices found in the shotgun reviews to be present on the site.