LACMA blocking art blogs?

Caryn mentioned this earlier and I dove into it a bit today but it seems that LACMA has blocked it’s employees access to art blogs, including our own art.blogging.la. The employees who were e-mailing us about it told us that the story they were told was that…

…about 3-4 months ago LACMA’s system got infected by some virus and pretty much all of the 400 people who work there were unable to use their computers. To prevent another such incident they’ve installed some hardcore firewall. They can still visit gallery sites and everything… just no blogs, friendsters, or things of the like.

As I wrote earlier, my question about this is that in order for gallery sites to be reachable, but blogs to be blocked, there would have to be some kind of black list in place and I want to know who put blogs on it, specifically art blogs since this is an art institution. I asked around and got a contact for Andy Dworkin who I’m told is in charge of this kind of thing. I just sent him this e-mail to try to get to the bottom of this and I’ll post about it as soon as I hear anything back. I wrote:

Hi Andy-

I was told that you are someone who might be able to give me a statement about the new firewall at LACMA that is blocking many art blogs. As a blog publisher this kind of situation is very interesting to me and I’m working on a story about this new policy. As I understand it, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but much of the web is still freely accessible from inside LACMA such as art gallery website and many art news sites but now many blogs, and art blogs specifically have been blocked. Since some sites are reachable, and other blocked, that would seem to suggest that some kind of blacklist is being used and that’s what I have a question about. If you could answer these questions for me, or pass them on to someone who might be able to that would be very helpful.

I’m interested in knowing where this blacklist came from. Did LACMA create it or did they just implement a list created by a third party?

If the list was created by LACMA, why were art blogs included on this list? Given that many of them are a valuable source of information written by industry professionals, it seems odd that LACMA wouldn’t want their employees to be able to read them.

If the list was created by a third party, what does LACMA think about the fact that this list is blocking art world sites?

Are their any plans to correct the situation and restore access to some of these art blogs such as art.blogging.la or modernartnotes.com?

If not, why not?

Thanks very much for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you or someone else from LACMA.

Best,

Sean Bonner

Stay tuned for more…

Update: While I still haven’t heard anything back from LACMA, my little birdy told me that Andy actually agree’s with me and passed my note onto upper management. I also got the number for Domenic Morea who is the head of Media Relations (publicity) and I left him a message.

5 Replies to “LACMA blocking art blogs?”

  1. Has anyone ever caught a virus from an art blog? I’m not really following the logic behind this decision. Are a lot of viruses spread through blog sites?

  2. That’s exactly the point, you can’t catch a virus from visting a blog so that’s a pretty poor excuse for blocking access to art blogs. It would be like cancelling the subscription to Bloomberg for someone who works in the financial business because you heard that someone else who read a magazine somewhere had a cold.

  3. I bet the admins are overreacting and are implementing steps that have nothing to do with the real problem – ie: somebody was downloading porn and when almost caught, says, “….errr, i must have caught it from some “art blog”.

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