Portraits & Passages

Chapter 18


Pages from "Art In America", December 1981 issue

All that is visible must grow beyond itself to extend into the realm of the invisible. Thereby it receives its true consecration and clarity and takes firm  root in the cosmic order.      – I Ching

The Magazines
Art News, Art In America, Art Forum

The biggest mistake I made in doing my media campaign in "Art in America" came afterwards. The people selling advertising pages at "Artnews" wanted to take me to  lunch. That part is all vague now. I declined, but I met them for coffee, I think. Anyway, wherever it was we met, I do remember the conversation clearly.

They came right out and asked if I'd like to be on the cover of "Art News", if I would consider a similar ad campaign. When I asked them how they could offer  that since there were no critics that took an interest in me, the one said: "Writers are a dime a dozen." The vulgarity of that kind of speaking about anyone I found  offensive, but kept it to myself. However, I told them I couldn't spend more money at that time. I'm sure that was a disappointment to them. Then, one asked me how I  decided to do the ads. I, like a fool, told them, and my self- satisfaction led me to ruin. What I said was this:

"The real exhibition space for art in the Twentieth Century takes place in the art magazine. It is an incredible vehicle going all over the world and reaching tens of  thousands of people. We take for granted the logistical resources that make it possible.

"What I have done is to treat the page as wall space, so that multiple pages give the experience of an exhibition. I keep everything else to a minimum. Only my name  along the bottom like an architectural frieze, and the size, date and medium with no text to interfere with the visual experience."

They must have listened intently. Within a month or so the whole industry followed my lead. The magazines must have made a fortune as twenty or more pages at a  throw were orchestrated as I suggested. Dwarfed by colossal multiple spreads, the uniqueness of my spreads of pages was lost.

Pages from "Art In America", February 1982 issue


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