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by Stephen Perkins
These two decades witness a steep rise in the number of magazines edited and produced by artists, all of them addressing a wide range of concerns, in a variety of formats and utilizing a host of different printing technologies. Imbued with the philosophy of opposition inherited from the underground press and artists' books, and seeking to establish new contexts for discussion, criticism, dissemination and documentation of their work, the years 1965-75 are seminal for artist produced magazines. In the words of Howardena Pindell, the artist produced magazine came to function as an "alternative space." (1,2) This concept undermined and collapsed two inherited structures endemic to previous assumptions about magazines: 1) artists now began to write about the artworld from within the movements, carving out a partisan position that circumvented the established critical apparatus, and it was hoped, would undermine the hegemony of the art world power structure; 2) where previously art work, texts and documentation were 'illustrated' in magazines, in this new 'space' the magazine became the primary site for the works themselves. The magazine becomes an exhibition space, a critical space, a documentary space and an archival space. Art made for magazines, and intended for reproduction, introduces a new aesthetic for which Clive Phillpot has coined the term 'magazine art.' (3) With ideas of the traditional gallery in serious question and many artists, nationally and internationally, working outside of these structures, the artists' magazine offered an important and efficient link in disseminating new work amongst this emerging international community. For artists who's work did not require a physical site for its realization, artists' magazines functioned as simultaneous bridges between artists in varied geographic locations and as a sites through which 'transnational' collaborations could take place. Running parallel to this expanded concept of what a magazine could be, was a redefinition of what could take place in the space of the page itself. The page subsequently became a site dominated by the visual image, absorbing the text within itself, and this new fusion permeates artists' self publishing to this day. This period spawns the seeds for the plethora of magazines that start publishing from 1975 onwards, and equally importantly it provided models for the shape and structure of artists 'magazines in the future. Four distinct types of artists magazines branch out from this period, with the boundaries between these types more flexible than the following listing would suggest: Many artists' magazines started by combining an eclectic mix of alternative cultural activities, and many expanded to include an international perspective. By the mid-70s a significant number had begun to devote themselves to establishing a particular regional base. These alternative arts periodicals are still with us today (however many of them
alternative art publications. Activist artists magazines. i." Art Libraries Journal. or simply juxtaposition of literary works with visual images." Artforum. Crafts Council Gallery. Fluxus. For an analysis of the idea of 'alternative space' and the extensions of this concept as applied to artists' books see. "The artist's book as an alternative space. 6(3): 12-55. concept art." Lightworks." Friedman.A. A listing of approximately 300 hundred magazines. 1986. 3. London. 10 Sept." Bibliography includes. concrete and visual poetry. performance and inter-media. Clive. in the periods prior to the early '70's. Bibliography Cutts. Susan. "Notes On The History of the Alternative Press. Many periodicals today are exploring the interrelationship of word and image through concrete poetry. 1977." Studio International. critical/historical periodicals. willing to spend the effort and energy. Ken.' at least since the mid-nineteenth century. The selection that follows for the visual arts has less to do with a specific definition than with a generally wider range of possibilities within which the visual arts may be included as subject matter. "The publishing paradigm developed through Fluxus have had substantial impact on mail art. artists' periodicals. artists have published material both as an adjunct to their work at large and. 'Magazines and Journals. "While artists had been involved in periodicals for some time. and a section on the New York Correspondence School Weekly Breeder. however. 1980." The Print Collectors Newsletter. although the designation "little magazine" has primarily been applied to literary materials and connotes in the strict definition this particular type of publication.) Magazines that were allied to a particular movement or group of individuals. they had generally been contributors and advisors. Ken. the preponderance of artists' publishing in the nineteen-sixties and seventies that forms the more urgent and immediate context of this survey." Flue. alternative art journals and artists' periodicals. Gives brief history of contact lists and Fluxus inspired artists publications. 1977." Gurney. Kate. Brian. Linker. Neo-Dada to name only a few. Pindell.' and 'Mail-Art and the New Ephemera. The Artist Publisher. regional art publications. 1981. serial publications as opposed to the much easier effort of a book product in a single or even small press context. "Art Magazines and Magazine Art. editing and publication rather than directly responsible.e. either by visual image or through the written word. the same system that many of them started in reaction against. Simon & Lane.S. Sept-Oct. Assembling and collaborative magazines. (8/9):41-47. collaterally involved with production. It is. A brief mention of assembling magazines. 4(3/4): 18-24. Short outline of history of North American alternative newspapers from early 1960's. the disciplined work required for regular. 1984.. "Mail Art History: The Fluxus Factor. "Throughout the 'modern movement. References 1. Italy and England. "Alternative Space: Artists' Periodicals. language art. and a number of more visually oriented literary publications." Friedman. The new movement in artists' periodicals saw artists taking direct responsibility. Vol. Feb. 195(990): 75-79. "It was felt that an expansion of the term "little magazine" could well encompass those periodicals which include visual art. artist publishers in US. at times. . Phillpot. Surrealism.-2 Nov. as its main practice. VIII (4):96-121.' amongst others. Hence there is a wider potential spectrum which defies an easy definition.are now non-profit groups heavily dependent upon granting agencies. Discussing the title of this bibliography Gurney says. This catalogue for a survey show organized by Coracle Press has sections dealing with. 1980. 2. "A bibliography of little magazines in the visual arts in the U. Howardena. tabloids. institutionally sponsored magazines. newsletters.
Trevor Fawcett & Clive Phillpot (eds. 1973. 1976. While these ideas are more or less concerned with what I once called a "dematerialization" of the art object. between 1966 and 1971.. all of whom were working broadly within the conceptual arena. 1991 Includes a short listing of mail art publications. the form of the book intentionally reflects chaos rather than imposing order." home // back // next . in America and abroad. It is only in the last section of the article that Walker deals with artists publications. John. ".)." Lippard. which he sees as one of. catalogues." Walker. "I planned this book to expose the chaotic network of ideas in the air. A survey article covering the broad range of mainstream. London: The Art Book Company. artists interviews." Artpapers. and articulating different facets of the medium.. 45-52. magazines. reviewing other mail art publications. These periodicals are put out by individuals in the mail art network and serve as on-going records of mail art activity by listing upcoming mail art shows and projects. New York: Praeger Publishers. "Another major source of information about mail art is the magazines that specialize in mail art. alternative and artists' magazines between 1945 and 1976. statements and projects. An idiosyncratic collection of entries detailing bibliographies of artists books.the most crucial developments in art periodicals since 1945. namely the conflation of art and the art periodical. John.Held." The Art Press: Two Centuries of Art Magazines. 15(3):8-13. "Mail Art Archives. Lucy. "Periodicals Since 1945. Six Years: The dematerialization of the art object from 19661972. interviewing active networkers.
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