By Natalie LeRoy
Philosopher Slavoj Žižek has written, “Cabinet is my kind of magazine; ferociously intelligent, ridiculously funny, absurdly innovative, rapaciously curious. Cabinet’s mission is to breathe life back into non-academic intellectual life. Compared to it, every other magazine is a walking zombie.” (Cabinet)
Cabinet Quarterly is a magazine that skips within the perimeters of the idea of a magazine and mental floss pulling threads out of history. Rather than covering solely current topics or sticking to a singular genre or writing or subject, it is a paper allusion to the 17th century curiosities cabinet (Cabinet). The publication only fits some qualifications of what a magazine is; such as publication periodicals, short writings by various contributors, culture, and news with great glossy photos encased in a soft-cover. That is where the similarities end, as Cabinet is packed from the inner front cover to the back with unusual theme based writing; interweaving culture, art, history, visuals and narrative to blur the borders of distinction between such areas and offer consideration from aesthetic as well as academic criticisms. Between short works are re-prints of found publications and objects that fall within the quarterly theme; often one word that very loosely binds the subject matter discussed within the periodical. There are postcards, foldouts, artists’ paper books, children’s handouts for crafts, and strange tid bits of amusement to break up the strong historical and fiction base of the magazine to put cultural recycling into context. It aims to be a publication for the “intellectually curious reader” according to the website’s about section (Cabinet).
Cabinet is a non-profit publication based out of Brooklyn NY and was launched in 2000. Often sold as a newspaper, magazine, or book, Cabinet also curates art shows and venues as well as publishes books both fiction and non. The structure of Cabinet is interchangeable, yet different for every edition. There are three sections to each edition, the first four reoccurring thematic columns from a category of twelve i.e : Colours, Ingestion, Thing, Object Lesson, a Minor Timeline, Leftovers, A Clean Room, the Black Pyramid that appear in each magazine. They are titled with clauses that allow for lateral creative writing freedoms, accentuating the variety and well-rounded academic writing staff that leads them. Then a main section of un-themed miscellaneous arts, essays, and interviews precedes writings based on the main theme of the issue also composed of essays, interviews, and art works. Although all of these far connections may seem to make a merry mess of a magazine, Cabinet is a definite aesthetic within its graphics and pages. Retro fonts, papers, and reprints of a wide range of sources and time periods are next to white pages with sans serif fonts in tight, justified columns, as if to list an index. Likewise, the writing is neither pretentious nor objective. There is a distinct writer’s style within each piece (written for cheap, prices listed in the front index) and does not aim toward one group of readers or another, but instead makes the assumption that the viewer enjoys learning of the complex subtleties and oddities within modern culture for the sake of enriching the landscape and invoking educated interest.
The current issue, Bubbles, follows the similar format described above, ranging from essays about the exchanges of private and public collections between Sol Le Witt and his fellow artists, to super-note counterfeiting, the history of compulsive hoarding syndrome and the delicacies of sixteenth century Swedish and Italian linen folding. The descriptions are in-depth, super-notes are made by a group of individuals in Washington D.C. using antiquated lithographic equipment (Maliszewski, 12); and the story of the Dadaist attempt to reinvent the index for writing talent is illustrated by the original publication from Litterature (Chamberlain 7). In depth evaluations of pictures, writings, and historical context offer a complex view of the cultural history the writers explore; objective to contextual documents and drawing conclusions across time. Cabinet is not just a magazine to keep up with culture, but rather one in which to help build a creative and educated foundation to view culture. In a society that is often satisfied by one lined stories and fictional news, it is a great treat to find a publication so dedicated to investigative, curious cultural history.
“CABINET // Cabinet: Mission Statement.” CABINET // Homepage. Cabinet Magazine, 2008. Web. 03 Aug. 2010. <http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/information/index.php>.
Chamberlain, Colby. “Inventory.” Cabinet Spring 2010: 7-10. Magazine.
Maliszweski, Paul. “Colors/Green.” Cabinet Spring 2010: 12-15. Magazine.
Sculpture Review, A Publication of the Sculpture Society
The SculptureReview publication’s focus is on figurative expression in sculpture. The exploration of form and investigation of traditional expressions as well as offering a thoughtful look at media and many different styles gives the reader a well rounded look at the art of sculpture from antiquity to present. Since the magazines’ inception in 1951, it has been the voice of the National Sculptures Society, and has helped raise awareness of the trade and offer a unique glimpse into the diverse world of sculpture. The National Sculptures Society is a non-profit organization over 4000 strong with a diverse member base. Member professions range from sculptors, architects, art historians, conservators, and other related professions; but the magazine is attractive to a much larger reader base then niche professionals.
The publication keeps the readers’ interest with not only the descriptive but easy to understand discussions of work and historical context that helps ground the focused pieces and styles, but has impressive photography which brings the reader to the works under discussion. Many of these images are large and cover one or more pages. The reader does not become overwhelmed with raw text and is allowed to wander thought the brilliant imagery.
The aft potion of the publication is devoted to advertisement that is genera specific. Although related to sculpture, the ad portion of the magazine still retains the feel of the rest of the book. Most ads have minimal text and are comprised of crisp and related images that catch attention.
Each installment has a focus that the articles within are based around. The issue “Sculpture in Architecture” begins with an article about Ancient Greek Architectural Sculpture, and progresses to more resent works, architectural discussion, and thought. Although the focus of the National Sculptors Society is on national artists, the publication reaches internationally for inspiration and stories.
The American artist community is in a unique position. Being in a nation founded by a wide background where different cultures, styles and ideas mingle, the creative inspiration can be easily a combination of old-world techniques and modern style. The SculptureReview reflects that diversity and range of styles and cultural inspirations in the pages of its publication.
By Colin Schipper
Sculpture Magazine is a publication of ISC, or the International Sculpture Center, which was founded in 1960. The goal of the magazine is to professionally write about contemporary sculpture. The writing takes on that role in tonality, objectively examining the works presented, providing thorough critique of works currently being shown, giving in depth analysis into the intents, concepts, techniques and materials of the artist. In the center of the magazine, a few interviews with working sculptors are conducted, which further explore the mind and work of that artist.
Sculpture magazine is written for the artist interested in sculpture, and attuned to the contemporary art scene. The work shown is as up to the minute as a monthly publication can be, and the layout of the magazine is fairly modern, but minimalistic, giving space to the photographs and writing. The magazine is structured into sections, providing glimpses of upcoming shows, in- depth articles and interviews that span two to four pages, an insider section listing upcoming commissions and residencies, and then a series of show reviews, which are a few paragraphs long.
The magazine is quite interesting, providing a window of insight into the often confusing and difficult world of contemporary, post-modern sculpture. It is, however, geared towards artists working in that field, with all of its focus on the here and now world of sculpture. The insider section makes that all the more apparent, providing tools for working artists, like a classifieds section of potential job and opportunity listings. It does help in getting a grip on what’s new and the future of sculpture, and provides a listing of what galleries are presenting what kind of work. It is not overly involved in exploring the technical process, so it is not a craft type magazine, explaining how to do what is seen, but instead critically and intellectually exploring the work.
The insider section was a surprise – an excellent tool for artists. The interviews were also pleasant and informative, going a step beyond the normal artist write up, and giving a perspective that is often overstepped, but is becoming more necessary in the post-modern era.
By Erin Hill
Wallpaper* is a contemporary magazine that is published in fifteen different countries and features a variety of subjects. Founded in 1996, the magazine does not just focus on one aspect of design, but has a total of ten different sections, including: architecture, design, fashion, food, grooming, interiors, the making of, sketchbook, travel, and resources. Though many of the things in each category are grouped in the same area of the magazine, they are not contained by their category, and many of the articles are spread out throughout the magazine, despite their label. This mixture of the different elements shows the magazines idea of the blending of design, and the lack of limitations on the modern artists.
Their August 2010 issue, also known as the Handmade Issue, shows that Wallpaper* is not your typical art and design magazine. In order to make this issue, the people of Wallpaper* commissioned 100 different things specifically for their magazine. They asked for a variety of functional objects, including furniture, ipad cases, luggage, watches, etc. But the editors and creative people who put their time and energy into this well known magazine didn’t stop there. They teamed up with a gallery in Italy to put on a show of all of the commissioned work, an exhibition known as Wallpaper* Handmade… in Italy. Not only were the artists they commissioned featured in their magazine, but they were also given an exhibition to display their final piece in Italy.
This issue of the magazine features information about the final products. Some of the items are just briefly described, with general information about why they chose this artist or how the idea for the piece came up, along with information about the materials and function of the item. Each piece also features a brief paragraph with information about the artists. The writing style is brief and to the point. The editors of the magazine let the work speak for itself, and keep the writing simple and generalized. All of the pieces featured in the magazine are designed with a purpose, and their function is clear, so the work doesn’t require much explanation. The magazine is not at all critical, but why would it be, considering they commissioned and selected everything that is featured.
Another feature of this issue illustrating the involvement of the design community is the cover. The Wallpaper* website, which was started in 2004, took submissions for the cover design, and the ones that weren’t chosen for the final cover are still featured inside the magazine or on the website. Their website also features more information about the products and the artists featured, along with other things that relate to the magazine’s ten categories.
The audience for this magazine is clearly defined from the price tag on the cover, to the advertisements featured throughout the magazine. From the pricey watch advertisements and business style clothing, it becomes clear that this magazine is for the wealthier businessman and women with a modern, sophisticated taste. The items featured in the catalog are pricey and would stand out in a more traditional styled house, but would fit right in with something more modern. It is clearly designed towards a specific audience, rather than trying to appeal to a variety of people.
By Kaitlynn Scannell
Aperture Magazine started out as a non profit foundation. It was founded in 1952 by 9 people: Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Barbara Morgan, Minor White, Beaumont Newhall, Nancy Newhall, Melton Ferris, Ernest Louie, and Dody Warren. Aperture is a quarterly magazine focusing on the “appreciation of the medium and its practitioners.” (aperture.org) These artists, curators, and writers started a magazine to expose artists and the public to more. As the magazine expanded in the 1960s, it started to include not just a magazine but also the publications of books. Within the past decade they have started a website and blog, programs that include limited-edition photographs, artist lectures and panel discussions, and a traveling exhibitions program that has shows at major museums internationally. This also includes the three-thousand-square-foot gallery space that opened in 2005 in the Chelsea district of New York. Their tag line is, “Aperture Foundation: Photography in all its forms,” which I believe speaks very well for the mission of the foundation.
Aperture has been successfully exhibiting artists for over a half a century. They include but are not limited to performance artists, editorial, fashion, documentary, and fine art. Aperture has the ability to be such a well known resource that they have the freedom to write and show just about anything in the medium. From art historians to critics, curators to artists, they talk about work in a fashion in which not only the photographer can read but also the general public can enjoy. The writing varies from page to page; sometimes interviews between the artist and an editor, or pieces written from a curators point of view, or an art critics point of view. Each of these works vary from page to page. One article in edition 199 is written by a curator who is also detailing his connections within himself and Diane Arbus’ whole body of works that he chose to show. Only 9 of them made the magazine but he speaks to all 44 of them in an individual level. Same with another article that was written by a photojournalist; he speaks of places and photographs that he knows and of the people and marines that he has to gotten to know.
Aperture not only engages you in the magazine by its stunning array of images but also through the individual writers who tell their personal connections with the work to keep you engaged. Aperture magazine is part of a foundation which offers magazines, books, website, blog, and gallery space; resources that should be used by anyone who is interested in photography. This foundation works towards the education and involvement of others. In order to find out more about this foundation and what they have to offer please look at their website at www.aperture.org.
By Ashley Janke
As one of the longest-running photography art publications in the world, Contact Sheet is a clean, minimal magazine consisting mostly of images, and leaving much of the interpretations up to the viewer. Publishing five yearly issues by Light Work continuously since 1977, the periodical has had the chance to showcase artist such as Cindy Sherman, James Casebery, and Andres Serrano, at early stages of their careers.
Contact Sheet delivers informative essays in the beginning of the catalog, though the majority of the physical contented pages revolve around the photographs themselves. The space of the publication is treated much like a white cube gallery space-exhibiting artist. Each nine by ten inch page is stark white and single sided with three fourths of it encompassed by a solo printed photo, briefly titled mid to bottom in a small condensed font. The paper contrasts an average magazine by using a weight just under that of card stock, letting it rest in your hand and further formalizing the image which lies there. By the time the 46th page is turned, the perception of looking at a magazine has almost fully left and been replaced with the context of a book. The context of the publication seems to place importance on art and photography in art.
Through Light Work, Contact Sheet generally exhibits five artists per publication. They aim to support under-recognized and emerging artists, out of their non-profit artist run organization in Syracuse, NY. The annual subscriber is also given the opportunity to purchase the signed artist books and original photographs from the shown artists. They have a website with contact information at http://lightwork.org/publications/index.html, but does no justice to the physical publication.
By Sean Weber
By Aimee Keil
The Art Journal, founded in 1941 is a quarterly peer reviewed journal, that’s content is completely dependent on private submissions, from people at every career stage. Submissions may include any sort of text based or visual projects including articles, interviews, conversations, and portfolios. The writing styles vary, but as a whole the journal is meant to function somewhere between commercial publishing, academic presses, and artist presses. In a way it functions as a private journal made public and is meant for a wide variety of readers to be informative- promoting both discussion and debate. The Art Journal can be found both online and in print. The design of the journal is very traditional, but the idea behind it is a rather contemporary idea for such an old publication.
Each issue begins with an introduction from the editor; a brief explanation of what you will find in the issue, along with why it was chosen for print. Usually there is a common theme that connects the entire issue, something, in which all of the artworks and writings in some way or another revolve around. In the spring/summer 2010 issue the connecting theme is “Love Unbound by Time.” The titles inside range from “Love’s Labor’s Lost and Found: A Meditation of Fluxus, Family, and something’s Else” to “Nuit Banal on Frederic Spotts. The Shameful Peace: How French Artists and Intellectuals Survived the Nazi Occupation.” The submissions range from many different skill levels, however many of the articles are very interesting to read.
“Art Journal”. College Art Association. August 3, 2010
By Ben Husnick
Detail Magazine may be the best for designers and contractors who are interested in design development. Detailed documentation in photographs, drawings, and interviews with the designers themselves are often featured in the magazine. “Each issue of DETAIL is devoted to a specific constructional theme and provides a comprehensive treatment of the subject in the various sections of the journal. The main section is the documentation, containing an analysis of selected projects, in which buildings from around the world are covered in depth. In addition to the aesthetic quality of the architecture, constructional details play a central role.” (www.detail.de) This is communicated through the whole series very clearly and is laid out in such a way that it is clean and easy to look at. Detail has now started publishing the green issues twice a year giving their readers a chance to get caught up in the world of sustainable practices. It is a known fact that the buildings we live in everyday are the number one cause for green house gas emissions, nearly 30% more than the automobile. Detail is focused more so on the contemporary architectural designer/builder as opposed to lets say Dwell magazine appealing to contemporary everyone. Some of the reviews on architecture are deep and discombobulating if you do not know anything about design terminology so in that sense it may be hard to read into what the jounal is describing, but never the less the drawings and photographs are always pleasurable to look at.
The only problem with such a powerful and beautiful magazine is that the price for eight issues is $168.00 that is off the charts for my kind of budget. But whenever I get the chance to read an issue I most certainly do. The information is endless with Detail you have sections, elevations, plans, photos, discussions with the architects, engineers, and trades people telling you how it was conceived and built from start to finish and the best thing about detail magazine are the DETAILS!!! You can spend an endless amount of time trying to figure out what the hell the details are on sight and you may never have really known how the design was functioning as a detail in the overall design, and that’s what detail looks for, those indescribable design details in architecture. So once I stumble across a fat pile of cash I will instantly subscribe to this truly beneficial and moving resource named DETAIL.
By Teresa Cano
Founded in 1962 in San Francisco by John P. Irwin Jr., Artforum is both a resource and use of entertainment for a wide ranged audience. After its move from L.A. to New York, the Artforum read today has developed into a guide through the constant changing contemporary art world. Artforum is a magazine that satisfies an appetite for a greater knowledge of the art world. Each cover is devoted to a single artist, often pulling your attention and asking its audience to read more. Wide arrays of topics are explored throughout the magazine. Articles on art forms such as film, writing, performance, and architecture can be found amongst numerous amounts of advertisements for gallery openings all over the world. Reviews of contemporary art and books consisting of about 2 pages each and can be found towards the end of the magazine, leading you to lists of contemporary art museums found in the U.S. Published ten times a year from September through May with an annual summer issue to look forward to, leaves the reader with more than enough time to read through the 400 pages or so given in each issue. As interesting and entertaining this magazine is to me, I have also used it as a resource for exploring a world that is beyond my own. Keeping me informed with clear and manageable reads, Artforum provides its readers with an array of voices, ideas, and opinions to choose from.