told you so

editor's letter issue#3: communication

By the time you finish reading these next sentences, you will have been communicated upon.

We're a magazine—by definition, a communicative device. Perhaps it’s not the newest of forms—as I write this very line, somewhere in the internet, a new publishing platform is born (and another one agonises)—but definitely a true form of communication. In this issue, we insist on tracing the path of communication in the art world. For art is a natural communicator, a vehicle for a message to be carried from source to destination. And there is a science to it all. Allegedly.

Our interest in this particular topic comes partly from our natural need as a publication to understand and participate in the communication cycle of art: the Chinese telephone-esque message path that goes from artist to gallerist to press agent to editor to critic to curator to audience to potential collector and back to artist. The process is complex enough without the addition of a value component—be it monetary or of legitimacy—to the process, which is very much attached (hype alone arguably sold over USD630M just this last week) to the cycle's end-result.

So, how does it work? Does it work?

Our answers—or research—come in the form of features, documentations and essays. In a somewhat contained editorial experiment, we tried to dissect certain areas of the communication cycle:

A documentation of Jordan Nassar and Nicky Broekhuysen's conversation during a first studio visit from the ex-gallerist kicks off the process in inspection of newly produced work by the artist. Somewhere in another segment of the communication wheel, sleek's Annika von Taube writes an almost unconscious open-letter style essay detailing her experience on the receiving end of the art press machine, whilst Kimberly Bradley takes a closer look into the role of the critic as an activator of audiences, collectors, value and legitimacy. Our explorations are topped off with a more indulgent communicative relationship—of a curator and artist, post-opening—where Marc Gloede talks to Taryn Simon in an open forum about her new body of work, further accentuating the rapport between the art world’s like-minded.

To add a Gonzo touch, we decided to leave contributors in this issue to their own devices more so than usual in an attempt to minimise editorialising. This conscious twitch in the cogs, although self-inductively chaotic, revealed gaps in our own process—where once a system would see itself through, now tangential ordinance reigns. And so, here we are. Consider yourself communicated.

[Image: Excerpt from Chapter VI, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, 2011, by Taryn Simon, courtesy the artist and Freunde der Nationalgalerie]