Contemporary art is often used to explain, celebrate or rage over the issues in the world, so each issue of Art Monthly is a great window into the feelings, tensions and events happening around us.
Take issue 460, there’s a fascinating editorial about the queue to see the Queen lying in state, touching on the study of crowd science, the covid memorial and the art along the way. They also discuss the implication of the Queen’s death on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. The contemporary sculptures have become iconic, but will it become a memorial to the late Queen?
Each issue, they also interview an artist, asking about the social, political and cultural context of their work. In issue 460, we enjoyed the conversation with artist Olivia Plender, who draws 19th century images of women getting arrested, titled ‘2021,’ to address the consequences of modern austerity and the shrinking welfare state.
The ArtNotes section is full of bitesized art news, giving a glimpse into the curious and sometimes contentious world of contemporary art and the reviews section is a great way to discover some of the incredible artists working today and learn about their processes and inspirations.
We’ve also put Carolee Schneemann’s Barbican exhibit in our diary after reading about her work!
We asked the team at Art Monthly to tell us a bit about the mag in their own words…
You’re on issue 460! How did Art Monthly start and has it changed in focus or design since the beginning?
Founded in 1976 by Peter Townsend and Jack Wendler, Art Monthly is the UK’s oldest, most authoritative and challenging contemporary art magazine whose editorial policy has remained fundamentally unchanged from that outlined in the first editorial: ‘to provide informed coverage on contemporary art and the issues that surround it’. In 2017, 40 years after it first appeared, Art Monthly became a registered charity. In 2019, the magazine was redesigned by the Fraser Muggeridge studio. The magazine is now much more readable with a new font and the improved design offers a fresher feel whilst still giving a nod to our original 1976 style.
We’re always curious about how mags get made. Have you got a big team? Are you back in the office or at the kitchen table?
There’s seven of us in total, so pretty small! And outside of working for Art Monthly, we are made up or artists, writers, musicians and teachers. We are still working from home, with occasional trips to the office!
What can readers expect from Art Monthly?
Published ten times a year in bold black and white, it keeps you in touch with the complex and ever-evolving art world through in-depth features, interviews with artists, profiles on emerging artists and coverage of major trends and developments by independent critics. In addition to the extensive reviews section covering exhibitions and books. Art Monthly also publishes regular reports from around the world in its ‘Letters from’ section.
Who is a typical Art Monthly reader?
Artists, art lovers, collectors? Anyone who wants to engage directly with contemporary art!
Are there any other independent mags you’re reading at the moment?
Tribune, It’s Freezing in LA!, The White Review
Finally, why is print still important?
Because there is nothing better than holding a physical object in your hand that you can read without distraction.