James Kalm & his beloved Kate in front of his first “social network” painting, “Art’sTown” (2000-2005), which — among other things — documents the galleries in Williamsburg during that period.

Last Saturday, #TheSocialGraph was honored to host the first-ever retrospective of Loren Munk’s popular online video channel, the James Kalm Report.

Austin Thomas introducing Loren Munk (aka James Kalm) and his videos. (click to enlarge)

Started as a conceptual performance of sorts, Munk and his alterego, James Kalm, have over the course of four and a half years garnered a cult following in the art world (particularly outside New York). The painter turned video artist has demonstrated his savvy in the world of social media and fit in perfectly to the types of conversations we are attempting to have in the social media art show, namely how are artists and other art world professionals using the tools of social media, how has it changed the conversations (if at all) that are taking place, and how has this all influenced the world of art.

When I first met Munk as part of the Brooklyn Rail many years ago, the veteran art world watcher came across as very serious and difficult to talk to, since then I have discovered his lighter side both in person and through his online work. His love of the underdog, his appreciation for the overlooked, and his sense of justice for those who has been passed by in an art world where novelty still has great sway has impressed me since he has never been one to go with the flow.

To honor Munk, I asked another art visionary Austin Thomas to curate a selection of video since I knew she shared the same respect and passion for Munk’s project as I did. And this is what she had to say in person (and on her blog) about the short videos she chose:

The first video linked in below sums up how I feel. The second one sums up how Loren Munk might feel, the third one sums up how the viewer might feel, the fourth one is for Hrag, although it’s [also] one of Loren’s favorites. There are so many good ones, and the Rough Cut series is genius. And I included a recent one that folks liked. I did some polling on Facebook, looked at the top rated ones and there’s a few extras that are good too, all linked below. Of course if you were not there last night you missed Outpost’s home brew beer and the #TheSocialGraph show.

Her blog also provides the links to all the videos we screened.

But as part of the one-night retrospective, I wanted to give Munk the same DIY treatment he has given hundreds of other people as part of his video channel. So the following is the newest podcast edition of Hyperallergic TV where I ask Munk about his “social network” paintings, his thoughts on the Brooklyn art scene, and I even edited in some of the most relevant questions from the Q&A session that followed the screening.

You’ll have to excuse my DIY editing, which may have caused some problems at points with the synching, but as Munk as proven to us, it’s not the technical skill but the heart that makes online videos about art fun to watch.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

4 replies on “Loren Munk Talks Social Network Paintings & James Kalm Report”

  1. Wow Hrag,
    thanks so much for this video. Now I know why I don’t get in front of the camera (don’t want to scare folks). I appreciate what the artists I interview have to endure, and It’s appropriate that I get a chance to have the camera turned on me for a change. It’s also nice to see you carrying on the grand tradition of “halfassed” production, I love it..

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