in Features | 07 JUN 06
Featured in
Issue 100

Periodical Tables (Part 2)

In 1976 the British art journal Studio International conducted a survey of contemporary art magazines to see what could be revealed about their inner workings and motivations. How do art magazines perceive themselves today? Are the questions that were posed 30 years ago still relevant in 2006? To find out, frieze asked 31 publications to respond to the Studio International questionnaire

in Features | 07 JUN 06

Country Colombia/USA
Founded 1991 (previously Arte en Colombia, founded 1976)
Editor Celia Sredni de Birbragher

1     ArtNexus is a family business with great interest in the arts. It is a self-sustained magazine with no political influences.
2     Advertising. The magazine reports very little profit.
3     We employ 14 members of staff.
4     25,000 copies. In Latin America the cover price is US$12, in the US it is $8 and in Europe it is US$14. The price is due to mailing costs. Average budget per issue is $100,000.
5     Between $60 and $300.
6     The magazine is printed on high gloss paper, full color, with more than 200 illustrations in each issue. The look and layout are very important.
7     Yes it is only an art audience but including all the Americas.
8     Information on quality art.
9     International. We cover Latin and Latin American artists wherever they are.
10     We are open to new developments.
11     Yes, we are.
12     The advertising is independent of the editorial content. We give information on the editorial features and clients may advertise if they wish. The market is important but it is only one aspect. The quality of the work and opinion of our writers is more important.

Celia Sredni de Birbragher, Editor and Publisher

art press
Country France
Founded 1972
Editor Catherine Millet

1     art press is published by the company of the same name, whose three main shareholders are Jean-Pierre de Kerraoul, Myriam Salomon and Catherine Millet; respectively the director and manager, the editorial adviser and the editor-in-chief. The magazine mainly reflects the artistic and intellectual interests of its owners.
2     50% of its income from sales, 50% from advertising. We just about break even.
3     Eight full time, five others part time or freelance.
4     The print run is 50,000 and the paid circulation is 35,000. The cover price is €6.30. An issue costs about €28,500 to produce.
5     The price per page is very low (between €17 and €20 for one typed page, it depends of the kind of article). So are salaries. As we often say, that is the price of freedom.
6     The visual grid was established when the magazine was founded in 1972 by Roger Tallon (who also designed the Eurostar trains) with a view to simplicity of use, clarity and economy. We have kept to this grid and Roger still designs our covers. The quality of the paper and the reproduction is good but not luxurious.
7     We aim at a specialist public and a public that wants to specialize. Every year, our sales increase by about a hundred readers. A survey found that about 30% of our readers are students.
8     We put the emphasis on criticism but, since the subjects we are dealing with are very specialized, we also provide information. Put it like this, information is always accompanied by a critical commentary.
9     art press has been published in French and English since 1992, but the title has always been written the English way. The international circulation of ideas is one of the functions of art.
10     Because avant-garde positions were much more aggressive in the 1970s, art press started out as a partisan magazine (defending the heritage of American abstraction and Conceptual Art). Today, art press is open. Contemporary art continues to find new paths in directions that we could never have guessed at, or about which we thought we knew all there was to know! It’s a bubble of air in societies that are increasingly regulated. Further, art press has always accompanied its analysis of art with an ideological and political activism: the defence of freedom of expression (notably pornographic representation), vigilance regarding anti-Semitism, awareness of the repressed religious element in secular societies, and an affirmation of art’s total non-subordination to morality and politics.
11     We certainly help art lovers to define their interests and no doubt we offer a forum where artists and intellectuals can develop and confront their ideas. We have no influence on the market, which is now totally unrelated to intellectual work. It is clear, though, that our positions and values are grounded in a much more long-term vision than the market’s.
12     Our advertisers are highly diverse, a mixture of public institutions and galleries, and this relativizes the economic influence that they can each exert on the life of the magazine. Together, advertisers represent only 50% of our income. Moreover, the power of the market couldn’t care less about intellectual work. And so our relations with the galleries that regularly support us are of the old-fashioned variety; relations of affinity that developed spontaneously without anyone worrying about who was influencing who.

Catherine Millet, Editor

Art Review
Country UK
Founded 1949
Editor John Weich

1     They are reflected but not profoundly so.
2     Advertisements.
3     17.
4     35,000.
5     Prefer not to answer.
6     Very, very important.
7     The art world core but also the periphery – the creative set.
8     Art information.
9     International – we go where the art is, and art is everywhere.
10     Journalistically open.
11     No.
12     Less than my sales people like, more than the editors want. Which is to say, the influence isn’t great.

John Weich, Editor

Country USA
Founded 2003
Editor Lisa Farjam

1     Bidoun Inc publishes us; we are Bidoun Inc.
2     Donations, a small clutch of gallery advertising and the kindness of others.
3     Five, all part-time.
4     We print 15,000 copies. Budget per issue varies but is around $80,000.
5     We pay all writers the same and we pay every writer.
6     It’s important to look good, raise the bar in all senses and attract readers who may not necessarily know that they would want to read Bidoun but pick it up because of how it looks and then get hooked.
7     We want everybody to read us, and reject elitism.
8     Art information.
9     We are a magazine about globalization.
10     Completely open.
11     Not particularly.
12     We are shaped by neither, not yet anyway, and we enjoy the freedom this allows us.

Lisa Farjam, Editor

BT/Bijutsu Techo
Country Japan
Founded 1948
Editor Eri Kawade

1     As the company who founded us was established in 1905, these interests come more significantly from the history and nature of our magazine and company.
2     Copy sales and advertisement. Profit.
3     Six editors, 41 staff in total.
4     30,000. JPY1,600 (US$13.7). Each issue costs JPY14,000,000 to produce.
5     Varies depending on the conditions and budget of each article.
6     Very important. To get maximum effect in accessibility and communicability at a glance.
7     Whoever is interested in contemporary visual art, in Japan and overseas. Having been the leading art magazine here since its launch in 1948, our audience ranges from teenagers to people in their 80s, from art lovers, artists and other cultural creators to art professionals. We do not feel we communicate only with a specialized art audience.
8     Half and half – both are indispensable and connected today.
9     International in terms of content although we only publish in Japanese.
10     Since the 1990s, the circulation of information has increased, and people have access to many things happening everywhere. To stay critical, a vital question for the media is how to be open. We introduce the most important thinkers of our age, whether political or not. However, it is hard to find anything not at all political now.
11     That is a historical fact. Again, the proportion of impact relates to the amount of information and the number of access choices. The media needs to be ever-more unique to be read.
12     In terms of content, the power of the market has impact on us. However, not the art market but the publishing market.

Eri Kawade, Editor

Border Crossings
Country Canada
Founded 1981
Editor Meeka Walsh

1     We are not ‘owned’ but are incorporated as a non-profit arts organization governed by a Board of Directors. They hold fiduciary responsibility but do not influence the magazine’s content.
2     Subscriptions, news-stand sales, advertising, fundraising and government grants.
3     Four.
4     On average 6,500 copies per issue, quarterly. The magazine is distributed in Canada and the US, and by subscription worldwide. Cover price $9.95; average budget per issue, which includes pre-production, printing, design, and writers’ fees, is $58,000.
5     Varies according to category. Reviews; $300. Articles, essays, interviews; $650 to $1500.
6     The way the magazine looks is important since it is essentially a vehicle for visual material, even though a good deal of space is devoted to text. Quality of paper, clean elegant design in service of the subjects, and fidelity of reproductions are all significant.
7     Our audience is the intelligent reader engaged in contemporary culture, as practitioner or consumer. We would not be content to communicate only with a specialized ‘art’ audience – it is our intention to be inclusive.
8     Art criticism.
9     We are international in our scope, while recognizing our point of departure is regional. Drawing on critic Northrop Frye’s sense that ‘ … the centre is where you are’, we identify ourselves as a local international magazine.
10     We don’t support a partisan area of art activity and consider the magazine open to every new development while remaining vigilant not to embrace trends and currency for the sake of novelty.
11     I’m not certain that it is necessarily art magazines which influence the development of art but the material we publish does spark debate and discussion and provokes new responses among artists, and audiences.
12     Editorial content is never determined by advertisers or the market, and a very high editorial-to-advertising ratio is maintained.

Meeka Walsh, Editor

Cabinet Magazine
Country USA
Founded 2000
Editor Sina Najafi

1     Cabinet is a non-profit publication. Being a non-profit comes with its own set of economic difficulties, but it allows the editors to have total control of editorial policy.
2     About 45% from subscriptions and news-stand income; 40% is from grants given by government organizations and private foundations; 5% is from private donations; and 10% is from commissioned artist limited editions. Advertising income is negligible. We have a balanced budget every year.
3     We have a staff of about four. Our staff is almost exclusively part-time.
4     We printed 11,500 copies of our most recent issue. The cover price is US$10 (£7 in the UK). The average budget for each quarterly issue is c.$50,000 ($20,000 for printing, $12,500 for staffing, $6,000 for writers fees, $11,500 for other costs).
5     We pay honorariums of $150–$250 to writers and artists.
6     The physical look is crucial and is assigned a disproportionate percentage of the budget.
7     Cabinet’s expansive notion of culture means that its ‘implied reader’ is not a specialist in anything but is rather an omnivorous generalist. One of the organizing principles of the magazine is to break down specializations and niches. The magazine would be a failure if its only readers were art specialists.
8     We do not report on art events or publish reviews. We also avoid art criticism in the sense of the long essay on a specific artist, movement, or ‘scene’. We prefer to commission artist projects, and to present material that we think can be a sourcebook of ideas for the wide range of worldly interests that artists bring to their practices today.
9     We are international in scope because we are for a culture of curiosity that by definition is not limited by national boundaries.
10     We are open!
11     We are happy when art magazines contribute to the development of contemporary art by expanding the repertoire of ideas available to artists (a type of influence that was more prevalent when this questionnaire was first formulated). We are unhappy when art magazines participate in the mechanisms that obscure what is at stake in art-making by promoting definitions of success that discourage risk-taking.
12     Our regular advertisers, if we had any, would certainly have no influence on our content. Given our non-profit status, we live in a ‘false economy’ whereby we use one hand to beg for money and the other to rule our tiny fiefdom with absolute authority.

Sina Najafi, Editor-in-Chief

Flash Art
Country Italy
Founded 1967
Editors Giancarlo Politi, Helena Kontova

1     Helena Kontova and myself are the publishers and editors of Flash Art. The content has always been discussed and agreed with the editorial team which consists of young art critics who are very different to us. Our contributors across the world also have a key role and we give careful consideration to their proposals. Kontova and I are part of an extremely diverse multicultural team. Now after 40 years of managing the magazine (the first ten myself and the subsequent 30 with Kontova), a second generation is appearing on the scene; that of our daughter Gea Politi, who seems to be following with particular interest and innovative spirit all that has to do with Flash Art in the third millennium. This will be an extremely problematic handover in an era that is witnessing strong competition with the Internet.
2     Flash Art has always existed thanks to the market; that is to say thanks to advertising (70%) and to sales (30%). We are extremely proud to affirm that over the past 40 years, we have never received any public funds. Not even a penny from the government and institutions. Our readers and our loyal customers worldwide have always been our sponsors. Flash Art is a very dynamic magazine that over the years has made good profits and has allowed us to live and travel across the world.
3     Our publishing house, the Giancarlo Politi Editore, produces two magazines, Flash Art International and Flash Art Italia (we are now about to start Flash Art Russia) and also Art Diary International and Art Diary Italia as well as some books and catalogues. Our team consists of around 25 people.
4     Flash Art International has a print-run of 40,000 copies (20,000 for the US and 10,000 copies for the UK and Germany) while Flash Art Italia has a print-run of 35,000 copies. The price of Flash Art International is €7. There is no monthly budget (even though on average we spend over €50,000 per issue only on the printing) as the pagination of each issue depends on the number of pages of advertising sold.
5     From €50 for a short review up to €400 for a feature article.
6     Our points of reference have always been Time and Newsweek magazines: out of the great respect we have for our readers, we privilege clear and legible information. In 40 years, we have never fallen into the trap of trendy and illegible design. Flash Art has always been an ‘anti-design’ magazine at the service of readers and clients.
7     Art professionals and art lovers. Flash Art is directed at the most attentive, informed and constantly increasing art population (artists, gallery owners, critics and curators, collectors, art lovers). To be frank, I am not interested in the general audience.
8     Information; of course with professional competence and writing skills. From its very beginning, Flash Art has avoided and fought against the cultural terrorism of selfish narcissistic criticism.
9     Flash Art International is a truly international magazine. Since 1967, we have striven to provide global information, with more than 200 correspondents from all over the world. In 40 years of intense life and at the service of information, we have reached, through distribution and subscriptions, all the countries of the world. Flash Art Italia on the other hand, with 50% of the content dedicated to the national art scene, gives ample information about Italy.
10     Flash Art has always avoided supporting one particular artist, trend or movement, privileging information about the newest and most promising art. I would like to recall Germano Celant’s Arte Povera manifesto, published in 1968 and that of Minimal Art by Sol LeWitt. Together with Studio International we published the first essays by Joseph Kosuth and Art & Language on Conceptual art and the first text by Achille Bonito Oliva on Transavanguardia. We were among the first to cover Vito Acconci, LeWitt, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Matthew Barney, and naturally the very first to publish Maurizio Cattelan and Vanessa Beecroft. Ask the artists themselves for confirmation. This is the information that we like to privilege.
11     We have always wished to provide very selective and objective information. We never had the intention of ‘discovering’ an artist. Out task is to register the entry of an interesting artist into the art system. We leave the jus primae noctis to the art world.
12     We believe that the art system and the art market are fundamental elements of incentive, driving force and knowledge – it has always been so, from the Renaissance of Lorenzo de’ Medici and the Popes up to today. Nowadays art galleries have become very quick at singling out artists of quality. Galleries possess suitable means to do this – their owners have a profound and sophisticated know-how with which to understand the work of artists. To this we can add their network of contributors, friends and artists who become consultants for their gallery: who better than a gallerist can single out an emerging artist? I believe that no critic can compete with the eye of Larry Gagosian, Nicholas Logsdail, Jay Jopling, Charles Saatchi, Maureen Paley or Gavin Brown. We no longer face the vague connoisseurs of the past but real experts with international knowledge. Therefore it is not surprising that an artist is put forward by a gallery first, even though we are renowned for being very timely observers. You can ask Vito Acconci, Walter De Maria, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Julian Schnabel, Francesco Clemente, Koons, Barney, Hirst, Cattelan, Carsten Holler, Anri Sala, Wilhem Sasnal, Thomas Scheibitz or Kutlug Ataman.

Giancarlo Politi, Editor and Publisher

Country UK
Founded 1991
Editors Jörg Heiser, Jennifer Higgie

1     frieze is the only magazine of Durian Publications Ltd, which is owned by Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp.
2     A mixture of advertising sales, subscriptions and news-stand sales, with advertising being the largest contributor. In recent years we have made a modest profit.
3     Eleven full time, plus three freelance.
4     Print-run 23,000. Cover price £5.50, US $8.50, €10. Each issue costs approx £35,000 to produce, print and distribute.
5     We pay £100 for an exhibition review. Fees for columns and features are negotiated on an individual basis.
6     We spend a considerable amount of time working on layouts in order to produce a magazine that does justice to the art we reproduce, is interesting to look at and has pace. Printing, repro quality and paper are all frequently reviewed in order to try and produce as attractive a publication as possible within our financial constraints.
7     In clear, jargon-free language we aim to promote writing that is accessible to anyone interested in contemporary art.
8     Art criticism. We have a very useful international listings section and our online archive is a mine of information for those wanting to know more about specific artists. However as we publish eight times a year it is difficult for us to respond to the latest news within the contemporary art world and tend to leave this to more frequent publications and the national press. frieze likes to take a considered view.
9     We have offices and editors in London, Berlin and New York and the magazine aims to be as international as possible.
10     We are open to all new developments.
11     frieze is intended to be a forum for thought about contemporary art, how it is exhibited and related to other cultural fields. We hope it has a healthy influence.
12     We have a good relationship with our regular advertisers but advertising and editorial are kept totally separate and always have been. We sell more adverts when the market is strong but aside from that we feel we are unaffected by it.

Anna Starling, Publisher

Country France
Founded 2005
Editors Stephanie Moisdon, Eric Troncy

1     We created our own company. No one owns us.
2     Advertising is the only source of income. No profit no loss, just enough to publish the magazine. This is what is expected.
3     We have no employees, no one is paid. Frog is just Stephanie Moisdon and myself. We sometimes have an unpaid assistant, Sylvain Sailly, a student who became really involved in the magazine project.
4     10,000 copies, 12 Euro for one issue. Budget per issue is approx 30,000 Euro.
5     Till now, people write for free.
6     M/M Paris generously created the graphic design of Frog after listening carefully to our desires and recommendations. There is an extreme care given to what an image is; we usually produce our own, and avoid press images. We consider it boring to always see the same pictures in every art magazine. We prefer images made either by amateurs or professionals (artists, fashion photographers) but specially made for Frog. Also we prefer showing portraits of the artists rather than an image of a piece that would be published somewhere else anyway. We take care of the art direction ourselves, assuming we know which image should be used better than a graphic designer.
7     We have no expectations regarding audience. Frog is an art magazine with a certain exigency in terms of content, and thus it is made for people really concerned with art.
8     With no doubt art criticism.
9     International, because nationalism is not our philosophy.
10     Rather open, I hope.
11     They don’t.
12     There is no relationship between our advertisers and the content of the magazine. We make it clear they have nothing to expect from an ad taken in the magazine. Someone deciding to advertise in Frog knows it is not to give information (our ads do not mention exhibition dates) but rather to support an intellectual project. Advertisers know they make the magazine possible. To a certain extent, people deciding to advertise in Frog are those dealing also with intellectual issues and artistic forms not so far from the ones we like to consider.

Eric Troncy, Editor