Magazines and the Visual Arts

The Ideal Showcase

Authored by: Sheila M. Webb

The Routledge Handbook of Magazine Research

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138854161
eBook ISBN: 9781315722283
Adobe ISBN: 9781317524533


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This chapter discusses the state of research on art magazines, on art in magazines, and on magazines as an art form since 2000, and it focuses mainly on studies done on periodicals produced in the United States. Because magazines constitute an ideal venue to showcase art, the multi-faceted dimensions of the periodical provide a rich avenue for research. The subject offers provocative opportunities to investigate the creation of taste publics and to consider how cultural awareness impacts social positioning 1 ; to consider issues of standard setting and the attendant discussion of art as an exclusively elite venue versus one that is considered available to all; to investigate how visuals may express political agendas; to explore the relationship between consumer culture and art practice; to conduct archival work on specific titles and their editors; to expand on work done on the contradictory role of magazines in art reception and art criticism—to both promote art and to provide space for critiques of such promotions; to discuss how artists exploit publicity and counter-publicity via art journals; or to analyze the expressive possibilities artists themselves find in the magazine form.

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