Tuesday, March 15, 2011

James Kalm: The guy on the bike

This post is not about an artist. Although he is a fine artist and a leading member of the movement called ‘New York Neo-Expressionism’, our story is about his ‘alter ego’. I’m talking about the senior artist Loren Munk and this story is about ‘James Kalm’ as Loren is also popularly known to his fans.

James is well known for his two amazing YouTube projects called ‘The James Kalm Report’ and ‘James Kalm rough-cut’s Channel’. Both the projects are about video reporting of the major art shows and artist studio visits in New York, which is one of the most important centers on the global contemporary art map. While The ‘James Kalm Report’ is more organized and compiled with superior post production efforts, ‘Rough- cuts’ as it is titled, is a little loosely bundled, more casual reporting of the art scene. As far as the viewers are concerned (particularly the ones who are not in NYC), all these videos offer a rare opportunity to walk through the prominent galleries and have a look at the shows, the artists, the visitors and absorb the atmosphere in general. Watching these videos is one great artistic experience in itself.

James rides on his bicycle to cover the shows with his tiny handheld video camera. That is where he gets his name ‘the guy on the bike’ from, and one which he uses as the starting note of each of his reports. His report usually opens with a group of anonymous musicians playing on some New York street, and from there James takes us into the gallery, with the music still playing in the background. James then shows us the artworks on display, accompanied by his subtle commentary. Sometimes he gets hold of the artist who is exhibiting and asks him a couple of interesting questions, or he candidly interacts with the visitors. He walks out quietly once the entire show is covered (and without fail he thanks his wife Kate at the closing note of each report!).

James has a very unique way with his commentary, though he himself is an artist, he is never critical about the artworks in the shows. His approach is quite neutral and unbiased most of the times. It appears as if he has successfully ‘partitioned’ Loren Munk, the artist from James Kalm, the art reporter. James also holds a single journalistic policy for everyone; he covers shows by the senior art heavyweights and also by the young artists and debutants with equal enthusiasm. James being a veteran art observer of the New York art scene, the viewers also get to enjoy many anecdotes that he shares while walking through the shows.

 If you already know about these YouTube channels, then you must already be a fan of James Kalm Reports like me! If you do not know about these, then you must visit the links below and you will be a fan very soon :) 

I wonder if James would conduct workshops for video art reporters across the globe so we can have such lively updates from everywhere. But at the same time I do feel that though one might be able to replicate the way he captures the videos, it may not be possible to have an expert commentary like James!

My sincere thanks to James for the permission to write about him and the picture he has shared with this blog.


Mariann Lennert said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog.
Have a nice day.

Betsy said...

REALLY great report. Well written too.

Debu Barve said...

you really have a great blog.

Thanks for your remarks!

The Adventurous Art Teacher said...

Great post Debu! Can't wait to check out James sites and share with my students. Thanks so much for sharing.

Debu Barve said...

Thanks Karen,

Certainly, James has great video projects.

Alexandra Hedberg said...

you have a very interesting blog here, Debu Barve. There are not that many good blogs out there about contemporary art, or by Fine Art artists.

[thanks for your comments on my blog!]

Debu Barve said...


thanks, I appreciate your remarks.

bicocacolors said...

such a great post!
have a lovely Sunday!

Debu Barve said...



Nomi Lubin said...

Wow, how great that you reported on James Kalm all the way from India! Nice.

Nomi Lubin said...

Ok. I know that sounds ridiculous because Youtube is just as close to you as it is to me. But still!

Debu Barve said...

Hi Nomi,
;)... Loved both of your comments.:)I was about to say that James resides at an equal distance from Brooklyn as well as Bombay ;) Yes, but I get your point that you liked that I covered (and love to follow) his channels from so far. Thanks. You too have a great blog, and one that I liked instantly. Keep in touch!

Nomi Lubin said...

Thanks so much, Debu.

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