in Features | 07 JUN 06
Featured in
Issue 100

Periodical Tables (Part 3)

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 Switzerland
Founded 1968
Editor Claudia Jolles

1     Our publisher is a holding of Swiss Art Associations, but financially we are independent.
2     Subscriptions and advertisements. We aim at an evenly balanced budget (non-profit, self-supporting).
3     Five people: one full time, four part-time.
4     Approximately 15,000 issues; €8; all in all €70, 000 (production and overheads).
5     From €30 to €1,500.
6     We try to keep a high-end-low-cost standard.
7     We address specialists, professionals, and artists, but also the interested amateur.
8     Both, of course.
9     We think in radiation-potential and try to reach out from a national to a European public (German, French, Italian).
10     Being open without being arbitrary is the challenge.
11     I wouldn’t overestimate it.
12     We try to offer a platform that is valued not just for a special-interest group. Otherwise we wouldn’t survive in the long term.

Claudia Jolles, Editor-in-Chief

Metropolis M
Country The Netherlands
Founded 1979
Editor Domeniek Ruyters

1     Metropolis M is independent, published by the Metropolis M Foundation, six times a year, in Dutch and English.
2     We generate income through sales, subscriptions and advertisements. The Mondriaan Foundation covers any remaining gaps.
3     Four people.
4     4,500 copies, €9.50 cover price.
5     €0.15 cents per word
6     Very important. High standard design is part of the concept and history of Metropolis M.
7     A specialized art audience – artists, those working in the art world and art lovers.
8     Both.
9     Both, of course.
10     Maybe every magazine is partisan and maybe every magazine tries to rise above it.
11     Getting things clear is different from getting things changed. Metropolis M’s main interest is getting things clear.
12     Not at all.

Domeniek Ruytens, Editor-in-Chief

Country Switzerland
Founded 1984
Editor Bice Curiger

1     The majority owners are the three co-founders and current members of the Parkett board, Dieter von Graffenried (Publisher), Bice Curiger (Editor-in-Chief) and Jacqueline Burckhardt (Senior Editor).
2     Subscriptions, bookshop sales, artists editions and advertising. Results depend on all four areas and the general state of the art market. What goes up, Must Come Down was the title of Damien Hirst’s edition for Parkett in 1995.
3     Nine permanent employees and depending on production up to five to eight additional freelance collaborators.
4     12,000 copies, €30, printing cost average €150,000.
5     Depending on type of text between €400–€1,500 or more.
6     Paramount.
7     Parkett is made for all people interested in a direct dialogue with art and artists.
8     Neither nor, but the artists and their work.
9     International, (readers in 40 countries), building bridges between different places and artists has been at the core of Parkett since its inception as a bilingual publication in 1984.
10     Open (see the 180 artists having collaborated with us so far).
11     Magazines are only one of many participants in contemporary art; artists are the key protagonists. Gallerists, dealers, collectors, curators and others, including a growing general public, play important roles.
12     Parkett is shaped by the artists collaborating with each issue. They help us choose the authors, the images reproduced and the layout of each issue.

Dieter von Grafenried, Publisher

Country Poland
Founded 2005
Editor Michal Wolinski

1     In 1970s, when original survey was conducted, everything in Poland was controlled by the communist state – media especially. The interests of the communist authority were guarded not only by censorship but also on the level of fully-controlled means of production (in this case paper and printing machinery) and distribution. Piktogram was founded at the time of globalization, when democracy and the free market became the instruments of exercising power. The forms of control and pressure have changed. In order to stay independent one has to use all available tools – economic, political, and legal – with full awareness and often in subversive ways. Piktogram Association, which is the official publisher of Piktogram, is such a tool. ‘Flexibility makes our existence possible’, as Jan Świdziński wrote.
2     The first two issues of Piktogram were published mainly thanks to the generosity of a number of artists who donated their works for the magazine. The expenses have been covered by the sale of those works, but also by my own means, loans, and advertising fees. So far Piktogram makes a loss, although there is a generous private patron from Poland interested in supporting the magazine. I plan to keep our sources of income diverse.
3     I am the sole editor of Piktogram. There are two other people who form the regular staff: the managing editor, Ania Rozwadowska (the only employee) and art director, Blazej Pindor (who does the job for free). There is also a group of freelance contributors.
4     The circulation of Piktogram is 2,000 copies per issue. It costs €15. Until now, the budget per issue amounted c.€20,000. I am aware of the need to increase the budget to some €30,000.
5     The authors contributed for free for
the first three issues. I would like to change this soon.
6     We are a ‘talking pictures magazine’, we like our talking and pictures to look good.
7     There was a questionnaire made by Hans Haacke for one of his exhibitions in the 1970s to analyse the visitors’ profile. I have no illusions as to who is interested in reading texts about art. I hope I’m wrong though.
8     Definitely art criticism, but also a critical revitalisation of art history. The hope is to give some intellectual fun which could evolve into some productive activities.
9     Our scope is international with a local touch.
10     It depends.
11     It depends.
12     We play with the market and the market plays with us. Who is shaped by whom? This is a poker game. We are all bluffing. The outcome is unknown.

Michal Wolinski, Founder and Editor-in-Chief

Revue Noire
Country France
Founded 1991
Editor Simon Njami

1     Nobody owns us. We are completely free. Therefore, what is reflected in our publications is nothing but our positions.
2     Sales, some public funding and our own input. The founders of Revue Noire don’t draw any salary. We are in loss rather than profit. When finances are balanced, we are happy.
3     We basically work with freelancers. But within the paid staff we have three people.
4     8,000 copies per issue. The cover price is about €20 and the average budget per issue is around €50,000.
5     €5.30 per page.
6     This is very important to us. Dealing with Africa and all the preconceived ideas people have of the continent, we wanted from the very beginning to use the best paper, the best layout, full colour, and at a size that would do justice to the artists that we were introducing. We had to face a double challenge: at the time we started, contemporary African art barely existed. So we were introducing something to an audience that was not aware of what was going on. Therefore, we had to emphasize not only the contents but also the physical look of the magazine.
7     We aim at the largest possible audience. Art lovers, Africa lovers and general readers interested in other cultures. Of course, our first targets were the specialists, strategically speaking. But specialists are only a small part of our audience.
8     Both. There has been a shift in our approach. The first issues were busy giving information on a subject nobody knew much about. As the African artists started to become more international, we focused more on criticism, because our audience was becoming increasingly aware.
9     We are international because the continent is international. We are bilingual and trilingual when needed, with a worldwide distribution.
10     We focus on contemporary African creativity, including not only visual art but film, literature and music.
11     Yes. But the problem is more complex. When the influence is generous, and doesn’t serve any specific interest, I am happy. When influences only work to support a certain fringe of the market, I tend to disagree.
12     Our publications are only shaped by our emotions and analysis of the contemporary situation. This is probably why we are currently facing economic problems.

Simon Njami, Editor

Country Austria
Founded 1998 (previously Springer, founded 1995)
Editors Christian Höller, Hedwig Saxenhuber, Georg Schöllhammer

1     Springerin is owned by an independent association (Verein springerin) formed in 1998. As this association is made up by the members of the editorial team, the latter’s interests are perfectly reflected in the magazine.
2     Springerin is partly financed by advertising, partly by state and local government
support (percentages ranging at around 70 from private, and 30 from public support).
3     Six altogether, mostly working part-time and self-employed.
4     5,000 copies. Cover price is €11.50. The average budget per issue is €30,000.
5     €41 per manuscript page.
6     The design of the magazine has been of up-most importance right from the beginning. Over the past 10 years, Springerin has gone through several substantial makeovers, attempting to reflect the changing demands of the print sector at large as well as to maintain a vanguard position in the art field.
7     Springerin is aimed at a public that is willing to perceive art at the intersection of a larger network of discourses, ranging from political, cultural as well as feminist theory to the more specific fields of design, architecture and popular culture. Any section or member of the public who is prepared to view art in such an expanded manner is a welcome communication partner.
8     Criticism, insofar as Springerin tries to focus on art production that is socially and politically relevant.
9     The scope is highly international, comprising the art-worlds of former Eastern Europe as well as so-called marginal or Third World territories. The reason for this is the limited scope of the national Austrian art scene on the one hand, and on the other the general intellectual need to view current developments in a globalized framework.
10     Springerin has always been dedicated to art that is critically engaged with present living conditions, local or global, and that which has a political edge to it. Inasmuch as that is reflected in the genealogies of the neo-avantgarde, art with pop-cultural or other interdisciplinary affiliations, newly developing internet cultures as well as ‘scenes’ that might not have a proper label yet, Springerin tries to remain open towards all relevant approaches.
11     It’s hard to generalise in this respect, since both art magazines and contemporary art production follow widely heterogeneous agendas. However, more important than trying to influence art production is trying to start a dialogue and critical exchange with the respective producers, particularly as regards the international institutions and discourses they find themselves in.
12     Advertising pages make up roughly a quarter of every issue but advertising concerns do not reflect themselves in editorial decisions. Similarly, the power of the market occurs to be something of a phantasm in relation to the Springerin agenda. Therefore, it does not manifest itself in the concrete shaping of the magazine.

Christian Höller, Editor

Country UK
Founded 2004
Editor Simon Grant

1     TATE ETC. is published by Tate. Artistic interests of Tate are reflected to a degree in the magazine, in as much as the editorial content starts with Tate exhibitions and its collection and works out from there. We have a good amount of breathing space to operate independently.
2     The majority of the magazine’s income is generated from Tate Members, who automatically receive a copy of TATE ETC. as part of their membership package, and advertising revenue. Growing distribution and subscription sales also contribute to the magazine’s income.
3     Four members of permanent staff.
4     85,000 copies. UK cover price is £5.00.
5     Scale of payment depends on the writer and/or their agent. An article of 1,000 words can be anything from 25p per word to a £1 per word. It is always a case-by-case basis.
6     The visual look is crucial. The designers, Cornel Windlin and Laurenz Brunner, have come up with a fresh way of getting the balance between text and image. We use a lot of well-sourced, well-researched images. The idea is to show images that are unexpected, fresh and ones you would not usually see elsewhere. We are trying to create something that feels like a cross between a magazine and a journal – something readers will keep.
7      A high percentage of our readers are Tate members and represent an incredibly diverse demographic – from art novices to old hands, from casual observers to dedicated professionals. We definitely avoid catering for the specialist art audience, as other magazines do that perfectly well.
8     A well argued article will probably contain both. For example we include thematic articles that are generally unrelated to Tate exhibitions – for instance articles on ‘clouds’, or ‘blackness’ or ‘symmetry’. As we don’t have previews, reviews or listings we avoid signposting.
9     International. The art, writers and subjects come from all over the globe, from St Ives to South America. At the same time these can contain national elements.
10     We are not partisan, if by definition you mean one-sided. If by partisan you mean devotee of a cause etc, then we encourage opinion, debate and argument, though we would always ensure the other side of the argument has a chance to be aired. Naturally we are open to new developments.
11     Who knows what influence art magazines have over contemporary art? Who is judging it? In the history of art magazines there have always been those with their own tastes, interests, preferences, identities, fixations. Many magazines have had short life spans. Certainly readers are drawn to good writing. That has an influence. Also – if a good piece of writing ignites a spark of interest, awakens a passion or changes the way they initially thought about an artist’s work – then the reader can get a different perception of contemporary art that most journalism doesn’t entertain. An art magazine should follow a passion – not a fashion, nor because everyone else is at it. Also, the art canon is not necessarily set in stone because it is in print.
12     The content of the magazine is not connected to or shaped by advertisers. As a not-for-profit magazine, TATE ETC. exists outside the commercial sector – the state of the art market is an interesting phenomenon to observe.

Simon Grant, Editor

Texte zur Kunst
Country Germany
Founded 1990
Editor Isabelle Graw

1 We own ourselves. The magazine would be quite boring if it only reflected our own interests.
2 Subscriptions, retail sales, artists’ editions, advertising. We are happy if we break even.
3 We employ them all.
4 Our print-run is 5,000. Cover price is €14, €15 from next issue!
5 Authors can choose between one of our artists’ editions or a rather modest honorarium. As it is, we have to count on symbolic capital to one day turn into economic capital.
6 Reassuringly, our designer is a conceptual artist.
7 We do not believe in the idea of a target audience. Contrary to this fictitious concept, we assume our own interests to be those of our readers. Our audience is specialized only as much as each issue’s specific topic may be regarded as addressing diverse contexts.
8 Informed art criticism.
9 We prefer working on the reformulation of a specific art critical agenda over any focus on geopolitical situations.
10 Art policing since 1990.
11 We are very pleased that the power of art criticism is constantly increasing.
12 Advertisers love us for our relative autonomy. We are certainly not operating outside the market, but still occasionally insist on questioning its value judgments.

Isabelle Graw, Editor

Country UK
Founded 1993
Editors Mario Flecha, Olivia Plender, Andrew Hunt

1     Mario Flecha publishes and edits the magazine with Olivia Plender and Andrew Hunt. It therefore reflects our common interest in the visual arts.
2     Arts Council of England, magazine sales and occasional advertisers. Untitled is a not-for-profit magazine and breaks even.
3     Three.
4     2,000 each issue, the cover price is £3.90 and average budget is £7,000.
5     Writers are paid £70 for a review and £90 for a feature.
6     Owing to the fact that the majority of Untitled is printed in black and white (with a colour cover), the main emphasis of the magazine is on content. However the design, feel and look of the magazine are also extremely important as, of course, the subject that we are dealing with is the visual arts. This is reflected in the fact that we have two artists’ projects per issue, which are unique art works made specifically for the black and white magazine format.
7     The majority of Untitled’s readers tend to be artists, art students and art world insiders – something which is fine with us as we are a small publication seeking to provide an alternative voice within the art community and give writers the opportunity to say things they might not say elsewhere.
8     Art criticism is the main priority. We don’t have a listings section.
9     In our most recent issue we covered art activity in the Argentina, Uruguay, Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, China, USA and UK. Untitled definitely has an international outlook.
10     Untitled is a partial account of what is going on in the art world, rather than being in any way comprehensive, and as such it reflects the interests of the editors and writers. We place an emphasis on critical writing and interviews with artists, as well as the odd article on politics, film, architecture or kite flying. We cover both established artists and young artists at the beginning of their career. One end of this spectrum being the interview with John Latham that we published last year (sadly the last before his death), whilst on the other end, we were the first UK-based magazine to feature young artists such as Pablo Bronstein, Daria Martin or Lali Chetwynd.
11     It depends on the magazine. There are a lot of art magazines out there with some very different agendas (although whether those differences are reflected in this survey will be interesting to see).
12     Very little. Advertising makes up a very small part of our income, so there is no question of advertisers influencing content and writers are relatively free to write critically. Being small also gives Untitled a degree of freedom when it comes to the market place, as we have a loyal readership and are not competing against glossy fashion or design magazines.

Olivia Plender, Editor

As part of their 1976 survey, Studio International published a list of magazines that declined to take part or did not respond to their questionnaire. The following publications did not participate in the frieze survey for similar reasons:

Modern Painters
Tema Celeste
Third Text