Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Blogging ARTlies -- October/November 1994

Robert Boyd

Things changed a lot with the third issue of ARTlies.You can see it right away with the cover--where the first two issues had been Emigre-influenced design orgies, suddenly we get a cover that has the casual DIY look of a zine. And Wade Chandler, who had been the executive director for the first two issues, was out, replaced by board member (and artist) Benito Huerta. He explains the drastic changes like so:
Artlies has changed! We have adapted in order to survive. We have cut back our production costs. We have slashed our advertising rates. We will publish an issue every two months. The writing has become the focal point of Artlies. And we are here to stay in order to critique, to raise and discuss issues, to engage the community in a dialogue, and to question everything. Why question everything? So that we may uncover any flaws in our virtues and discover any virtues in our flaws. We refuse to be a paasive memeber [sic] of a consumer society. And we challenge you, the public, to become active in our community and with this magazine.
I don't point out the typos to make fun of ARTlies (people in glass houses and all), but rather to point out how ad hoc this whole issue feels. The whole issue feels like it was put together over a weekend. There is no "design" as such--the feature "Hustling" credited to the Green Hornet is a single-spaced, full page of type (no columns) and as such is a very uninviting read. Page numbers were hand-written.

Nor is the editing very good. "La Cordillera Anamorada" by Donald Calladare manages to fill an entire page about a show called "Poison/Amor" without mentioning the names of the artists or the venue. (A little Googling tells me that it was a show at the Blaffer by Terry Allen and James Drake.)

So ARTlies seems to have devolved into a kind of blank state with this issue--no design, no editing, just writing. That doesn't mean that it's a bad issue--there is an interesting article discussing Project Row Houses (which debuted that year) by Lynn Curl, some interesting reviews including a group show curated by Aaron Parazette and a show by Perry House (coincidentally, there was a Perry House solo show and a painting exhibit put together by Aaron Parazette in 2012--the more things change...). There was a vicious dissection of the Colquitt Gallery scene by Chris Ballou which included this gem "The only thing awe-inspiring [about the work in the galleries on Colquitt] was the magnitude of boredom: tropical tourism at Lynn Goode, tired modernist geometry at Davis/McClain, competent doctor's office paintings at Hooks-Epstein, and clever one-liners at New Gallery." There were scene reports from New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. And there was a very strange piece of fashion prognostication which included paper dolls.

Art by "X-Acto"

The article, "Forecasting Spring 1995," was by Peter Doroshenko (and the paper dolls were credited to "X-Acto"). Doroshenko is now the director of the Dallas Contemporary after having worked at the Pinchuk Art Center, the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art and the CAMH. (He is currently embroiled in a controversy over selling donated artwork on eBay for insultingly low prices.)


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