Getting the Word Out: Artists' Magazines in Los Angeles
Last updated: February 15, 2021
Throughout the 20th Century artists across the globe staked out claims and arguments in small run publications, “little magazines” and manifestos. We can think of Duchamp’s The Blind-Man, or any number of Surrealist publications. Previewing their groundbreaking work of the 60s, Brazilian artists Lygia Clark and Helio Oiticica outlined their ideas in the Manifesto Neoconcreto. Later, Art&Language, 0 to 9, The Fox, generated a dialogue among hitherto unrelated disciplines, from philosophy to dance, laying out the parameters of new forms of hybrid, conceptually driven art. This same impulse allowed local art scenes to develop a sense of difference, and Los Angeles has proved a fertile ground for such publications intended, in one way or another, to foster a sense of interrelatedness, of community. Some, like the LAICA Journal, began as a supplement to an exhibition program, and grew into something separate, raising a critical voice against commercialism. Others, like The Dumb Ox, and Straight Turkey, aimed to give direct voice to artists who found it difficult to break through mainstream gatekeeping. A significant number of artists from Los Angeles are now firmly in that mainstream, yet dissent still seeks a voice and small, often short-lived publications continue to enliven local discourse.
Vision Magazine: Idea-Oriented Art in Print (1975–1981) by Tom Marioni
Artist Tom Marioni is best known for early Conceptual works such as "The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends Is the Highest Form of Art" (1970), and as the founder of the Museum of Conceptual Art (MOCA), one of the first alternative art spaces in the United States, which he opened in 1970 and directed until its closure in 1984. He published the first issue of Vision , an extraordinary publication which lasted for only six issues, in 1975. Both MOCA and Vision helped to define new forms of art making and connect artists experimenting in a site-specific or performative vein. Here, Marioni recounts the story of Vision 36 years later.
Second Life: 4 Taxis Magazine by Thomas Lawson
Magazine of the international boondocks: In 1978, Bordeaux-based artists Michel Aphesboro and Danielle Colomine embarked on their on-going itinerant project 4 Taxis. Establishing temporary studios in different cities— from Berlin to Los Angeles—they’ve produced a nomadic publication that focuses on distinct places and a wide-ranging world of cultural activities.
Experiments in Print: A Survey of Los Angeles Artists’ Magazines from 1955 to 1986 by Gwen L. Allen
The emergence of Los Angeles as the “second city” of American art, as art historian Barbara Rose once called it, was witnessed by Artforum’s tenure here. Founded in San Francisco in 1962, the magazine focused almost exclusively on West Coast art during its first few years and sought to be an alternative to the mainstream New York–based art press. Yet Artforum’s short stint in Los Angeles, from 1965 to 1967, proved merely a stepping-stone on the way to New York, where it was soon lured by East Coast prestige and advertising revenue.
Getting the Word Out: Artists' Magazines in Los Angeles Archive