Artists' Magazines: An Alternative Space for Art

MIT Press, 2011 - 368 páginas
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Magazine publishing is an exercise in ephemerality andtransience; each issue goes outin the world only to be rendered obsolete by the next. To publish a magazine is to enter into aheightened relationship with the present moment. During the 1960s and 1970s, magazines became animportant new site of artistic practice, functioning as an alternative exhibition space for thedematerialized practices of conceptual art. Artists created works expressly for these mass-produced,hand-editioned pages, using the ephemeralityand the materiality of the magazine to challenge theconventions of both artistic medium and gallery. In Artists' Magazines, GwenAllen looks at the mostimportant of these magazines in their heyday (the 1960s to the 1980s) and compiles a comprehensive,illustrated directory of hundredsof others. Among the magazines Allen examines are Aspen(1965--1971),a multimedia magazine in a box -- issues included Super-8 films,flexi-disc records,critical writings, artists' postage stamps, andcollectible chapbooks; Avalanche (1970-1976), whichexpressed the countercultural character of the emerging SoHo art community through its interviewsand artist-designed contributions; Art-Rite (1973-1978), an irreverent zine with a disposable,newsprint format; Real Life (1979-1994), published by Thomas Lawson and Susan Morgan as a forum forthe Pictures generation; 0 to 9 (1967--1969), a mimeographed poetry magazine founded by Vito Acconciand Bernadette Meyer; FILE (1972--1989), founded by the Canadian collective General Idea, its coverdesign a sly parody of Life magazine; and Interfunktionen (1968--1975), founded to protest theconservative curatorial strategies ofDocumenta. These and the other magazines Allen examinesexpressed their differences from mainstream media in both form and content: they cast theirhomemade, DIY quality against the slickness of an Artforum, and they created work that defied theformalist orthodoxy of the day. (A work by John Baldessari from the late 1960s shows a photograph ofArtforum, captioned "THIS IS NOT TO BE LOOKED AT.") Artists' Magazines, featuring abundant colorillustrations of magazine covers and content, offers an essential guide to a little-exploredmedium.


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1 This Is Not to Be Looked At
2 The Magazine as a Medium
3 Art On and Off the Page
4 An Artists Magazine
5 The Magazine as an Alternative Space
6 The Magazine as Mirror
7 Artists Magazines in the 1980s
International Activity
A Compendium of Artists Magazines from 1945 to 1989
Selected Bibliography
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Gwen Allen is Assistant Professor of Art History at San Francisco State University.

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