Artforum is an international monthly magazine specializing in contemporary art. The magazine is distinguished from other magazines by its unique 10½ × 10½ inch square format, with each cover often devoted to the work of an artist. Notably, the Artforum logo is a bold and condensed iteration of the Akzidenz-Grotesk font, a feat for an American publication to have considering how challenging it was to obtain fonts favored by the Swiss school via local European foundries in the 1960s.[1] Artforum is published by Artforum Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Media Corporation.[2]

May 2019 Artforum Cover
EditorTina Rivers Ryan (March 2024–)
Former editorsTim Griffin, Michelle Kuo, Ingrid Sischy, Jack Bankowsky, David Velasco
Categoriesart magazine
FounderJohn P. Irwin, Jr.
Founded1962; 62 years ago (1962)
CompanyArtforum Media, LLC (Penske Media Corporation)
Based inNew York City

John P. Irwin, Jr named the magazine after the ancient Roman word forum hoping to capture the similarity of the Roman marketplace to the art world's lively engagement with public debate and commercial exchange. The magazine features in-depth articles and reviews of contemporary art, as well as book reviews, columns on cinema and popular culture, personal essays, commissioned artworks and essays, and numerous full-page advertisements from prominent galleries around the world.[3]


Artforum was founded in San Francisco in 1962 by John P. Irwin, Jr. Irwin was a salesman for Pisani Printing Company and would make frequent stops to the galleries around Brannan Street and the Financial District for deliveries. Gallery curators and artists, like Philip Leider, suggested to Irwin that he should start a local arts publication that catered to the West Coast arts scene since they were tired of reading about the same New York-based artists in Art in America, Arts Magazine, and Art News. Through the backing of Pisani Printing Company, Irwin successfully launched the magazine in a small office off of Howard Street. The first issue featured a cover with a work by the kinetic sculpture by Swiss painter Jean Tinguely suggesting the inchoate and indistinct identity of the fledgling publication. "That center section will contain a lot of divergent and contradictory opinion[s]," reads an editorial note in the first issue.[4]

The next publisher/owner Charles Cowles moved the magazine to Los Angeles in 1965 before finally settling it in New York City in 1967, where it maintains offices today.[5] The move to New York also encompassed a shift in the style of work championed by the magazine, moving away from California style art to late modernism, then the leading style of art in New York City. One of Leider's final essays for the magazine, "How I Spent My Summer Vacation, or, Art and Politics in Nevada, Berkeley, San Francisco and Utah," is a reflective first-person account of a cross-country road trip visiting earthworks, such as Michael Heizer's Double Negative (1969) and Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty (1970). The essay grapples with the relationship between politics and art.[6]

The departure of Philip Leider as editor-in-chief in 1971 and the tenure of John Coplans as the new editor-in-chief roughly coincided with a shift towards more fashionable trends and away from late modernism. A focus on minimal art, conceptual art, body art, land art and performance art provided a platform for artists such as Robert Smithson, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt and others. In 1980, after opening his own gallery in New York City, Charles Cowles divested himself of the magazine. A sister magazine, Bookforum, was started in 1994.

In 2003, the Columbia-Bard graduate Tim Griffin became the editor-in-chief of the magazine. He sought to bring back a serious-tone and invited academics and cultural theorists who were mostly suspicious of art and the market. The writers were mostly European male theorists like Slavoj Zizek, Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Toni Negri, and Jacques Rancière.[7] The magazine shed light on a new emergence of digital neo-appropriation artists such as Wade Guyton, Seth Price, and Kelley Walker and eventually featured a cover by artist Danh Vō.[7]

Michelle Kuo, a PhD candidate at Harvard and respected critic, was announced as the editor-in-chief in 2010 after Tim Griffin resigned to pursue other work. The magazine followed a similar, sober tone of under its new leadership with round-table discussions, book and exhibition reviews, and lively hyper-academic discourse.[8] In October 2017, publisher Knight Landesman resigned in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct with nine women including a former employee who filed a lawsuit.[9][10][11][12] Artforum initially backed Landesman, saying the allegations were "unfounded" and suggested that lawsuit was "an attempt to exploit a relationship that she herself worked hard to create and maintain."[13][14] The magazine's editor Michelle Kuo resigned at the end of the year in response to the publishers' handling of the allegations.[15] Kuo released a statement in Artnews noting, "We need to make the art world a more equitable, just, and safe place for women at all levels. And that can only be achieved when organizations and communities are bound by shared trust, honesty, and accountability."[16] Artforum staff released a statement condemning the way the publishers had handled the allegations.[11][17]

A new era of Artforum emerged under the leadership of David Velasco in January 2018. In his first issue, featuring a self-portrait by the born HIV-positive artist Kia LaBeija, Velasco wrote a poignant statement: "The art world is misogynist. Art history is misogynist. Also racist, classist, transphobic, ableist, homophobic. I will not accept this. Intersectional feminism is an ethics near and dear to so many on our staff. Our writers too. This is where we stand. There's so much to be done. Now, we get to work." Art critic Jerry Saltz immediately praised the new direction the magazine had taken, noting, "And just like that, an Artforum that needed to disappear was gone." The new editorial direction included writing and photographic essays by Molly Nesbit, philosopher and curator Paul B. Preciado, critic Johanna Fatemen, and artists such as Donald Moffet.[7]

Artist Nan Goldin published a harrowing text and photographic account of her addiction to the prescription pain-relief drug OxyContin in a 2018 piece that prompted the founding of P.A.I.N., a campaign to expose the role of Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family in the opioid epidemic in America.[18] This campaign coincided with Christopher Glazek's breaking report in Esquire[19] and several weeks later Patrick Radden Keefe's report in The New Yorker[20] on the Sacklers' "criminal misbranding." Both journalists reported that the drug that led doctors to believe Oxycontin was less addictive that had been reported. Goldin demanded in her essay that the Sacklers donate half of their fortune to drug rehabilitation clinics and programs.[21] Thessaly La Force of the New York Times Style Magazine wrote of the artist, "It is rare these days to see a lone artist like Goldin — especially one both critically and commercially successful, whose work is in dozens of important museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art — step into the ring as an activist."[18]

In 2019, Hannah Black, Ciarán Finlayson, and Tobi Haslett published an essay in Artforum titled "The Tear Gas Biennial," decrying Warren Kanders, co-chair of the board of the Whitney Museum, and his "toxic philanthropy."[22] Although Kanders had donated an estimated $10 million to the museum, the source of his fortune comes from Safariland LLC, a company that manufactures riot gear, tear gas and other chemical weapons used by police and the military to impose order by force.[23] Although the Geneva Convention in 1925 outlawed the use of tear gas in all international military conflict, the tear gas fired at peaceful protesters and civilians by the police and military during the George Floyd protests in 2020 as well as on migrants on the US-Mexico border is the same brand of tear gas manufactured by Defense Technology, a subsidy of Safariland.[24] A wave of artists from the Biennial, including Korakrit Arunanondchai, Meriem Bennani, Nicole Eisenman and Nicholas Galanin, demanded immediate removal of their work from the Biennial within hours after the essay was published.[25] After mounting pressure from artists, critics, and gallerists urging the public to boycott the show, Kanders stepped down from his leadership position at the museum.[26] The essay was instrumental in his resignation, and in the museum cutting ties with Kanders' financial endowments that were directly connected to the promotion and use of military weaponry and violence during peaceful social unrest.[27]

In December 2022, Artforum was acquired by Penske Media.[2]

Open letter about Palestine and Israel

On October 19, 2023, Artforum published an open letter signed by roughly 8,000 artists and cultural workers that expressed support for Palestinian nationalism in response to the 2023 Israel–Hamas War. Specifically, the letter pressured national governments to support a ceasefire and humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip.[28] The following day, Artforum published a letter from art dealers Dominique Lévy, Brett Gorvy, and Amalia Dayan (granddaughter of Israeli military leader Moshe Dayan), which criticized the magazine for not explicitly denouncing Hamas' October 7 attacks on Israelis, which included hundreds of kidnappings.[29]

In response to media pressure leading some artists to withdraw their signatures from the original letter, the Chilean poet and artist Cecilia Vicuña commented that "tampering with the opinions of artists is to not understand the role of art".[30] On October 23, the magazine's website amended the letter to denounce Hamas' violence and hostage-taking.[28] The Intercept investigated modern art curator Martin Eisenberg's campaign to pressure artists into retracting their signatures.[31] Vanity Fair similarly reported that Lucas Zwirner, the son of art dealer David Zwirner, supported the Lévy-Gorvy-Dayan response letter and stopped purchasing advertising from the magazine.[32]

On October 26, Artforum's publisher stated that the October 19 letter was published without the typical editorial process, suggesting that the letter should have been presented in the news section with relevant context on the 2023 Israel–Hamas war.[33] That same day, The New York Times reported that editor-in-chief David Velasco had been fired, leading to the resignations of senior editors Zack Hatfield and Chloe Wyma.[30] Documentarian Laura Poitras, musician Brian Eno, artists Barbara Kruger and Nicole Eisenman, philosopher Judith Butler, academic Saidiya Hartman, and photographer Nan Goldin signed the original letter and called for a boycott of Artforum in response to Velasco being fired. They praised his leadership increasing the magazine's prominence and denounced Velasco's firing as limiting their free speech.[34]

As the magazine and its sister publications The Art Newspaper and Artnet lacked editorial leadership,[32] the December 2023 "Year in Review" issue of Artforum was trimmed because critic Jennifer Krasinski, art historian Claire Bishop, filmmaker John Waters, curator Meg Onli, and artist Gordon Hall withdrew their writing from the magazine in protest of Velasco's firing.[35] The following March, Tina Rivers Ryan was named editor-in-chief.[36]

On Artforum

  • A book by Amy Newman chronicling the early history of the magazine, Challenging Art: Artforum 1962–1974, was published by Soho Press in 2000.
  • Sarah Thornton's documentary book Seven Days in the Art World (2008) contains a chapter titled "The Magazine" which is set in the offices of Artforum. In it, Thornton says, "Artforum is to art what Vogue is to fashion and Rolling Stone was to rock and roll. It's a trade magazine with crossover cachet and an institution with controversial clout."[37]

Notable contributors


  • Tina Rivers Ryan (March 2024–present)[36]
  • David Velasco (January 2018–October 2023)
  • Michelle Kuo (September 2010–December 2017)
  • Tim Griffin (September 2003–Summer 2010)[3]
  • Jack Bankowsky (September 1992–Summer 2003)
  • Ida Panicelli (March 1988–Summer 1992)
  • Ingrid Sischy (February 1980–February 1988)
  • Joseph Masheck (March 1977–January 1980)
  • In February 1977 Nancy Foote operated as the managing editor without a head editor
  • John Coplans (January 1972–January 1977)
  • Philip Leider (June 1962–December 1971)

(Philip Leider left the magazine at the end of the Summer 1971 issue, but remained on the masthead until December 1971)


  1. ^ "A radical history of Artforum - e-flux conversations". Retrieved 2020-06-22.
  2. ^ a b Cascone, Sarah (2022-12-07). "'Artforum' Has Been Acquired by Penske Media in a Major Shakeup for the Art-Publishing Industry". artnet News. Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  3. ^ a b Mandarino, Grant (March 7, 2010). "Taking stock of the "Griffin years" at Artforum". artnet.
  4. ^ Allen, Gwen. "Read about it in Artforum!". Art Practical. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
  5. ^ "Experiments in Print: A Survey of Los Angeles Artists' Magazines from 1955 to 1986". East of Borneo. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  6. ^ Allen, Gwen. "Read about it in Artforum!". Art Practical. Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  7. ^ a b c Saltz, Jerry (2018-01-02). "Wherever the New Artforum Is Heading, I'm Along for the Ride". Vulture. Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  8. ^ "Artnet News: Michelle Kuo to be editor-in-chief at Artforum, "No Soul For Sale" at Tate Modern - artnet Magazine". Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  9. ^ "Artforum Publisher Knight Landesman Accused of Sexual Misconduct". artnet News. 2017-10-24. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  10. ^ Feuer, Alan (2017-10-25). "Women Accuse Knight Landesman, Art World Mainstay, of Sexual Harassment". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  11. ^ a b Sayej, Nadja (2017-10-31). "'It's hurting everyone': the truth about sexual misconduct in the art world". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  12. ^ "Artforum Publisher Quits After Sexual Harassment Complaint". 2017-10-25. Retrieved 2023-05-24.
  13. ^ "The Gray Market: What the Knight Landesman Scandal Tells Us About the Art World". artnet News. 2017-10-30. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  14. ^ Greenberger, Alex (2017-10-24). "Artforum Responds to Reports of Sexual Misconduct by Publisher Knight Landesman". ARTnews. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  15. ^ Russeth, Andrew (2017-10-26). "Artforum Editor-in-Chief Michelle Kuo on Why She Resigned". ARTnews. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  16. ^ "Artforum Editor-in-Chief Michelle Kuo on Why She Resigned –". Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  17. ^ "Artforum Staff Condemns Magazine's Management of Allegations". Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  18. ^ a b Force, Thessaly La (2018-06-11). "Nan Goldin Survived an Overdose to Fight the Opioid Epidemic". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  19. ^ "The Secretive Family Making Billions From the Opioid Crisis". Esquire. 2017-10-16. Retrieved 2023-02-12.
  20. ^ Radden Keefe, Patrick (2017-10-23). "The Family That Built an Empire of Pain". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2023-02-12.
  21. ^ "Nan Goldin". Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  22. ^ "How Protest Works Now: Understanding "The Tear Gas Biennial" and its Historic Effect". Momus. 2019-07-27. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  23. ^ "Warren Kanders, Former Whitney Museum Vice Chair, Vows to Exit Tear Gas Trade". Hyperallergic. 2020-06-09. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  24. ^ Sadeghi, McKenzie. "Fact check: It's true tear gas is a chemical weapon banned in war". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  25. ^ Moynihan, Colin (2019-07-19). "Eight Artists Withdraw From Whitney Biennial Over Board Member's Ties to Tear Gas". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  26. ^ "Warren Kanders Resigns From the Whitney Museum's Board, Following Months of Protest and a Renewed Artist Boycott". artnet News. 2019-07-25. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  27. ^ "The Decisive Moment". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
  28. ^ a b "An open letter from the art community to cultural organisations". Artforum. 2023-10-19. Retrieved 2023-10-28.
  29. ^ "A response to the open letter of October 19". Artforum. 2023-10-20. Retrieved 2023-10-28.
  30. ^ a b Small, Zachary (2023-10-26). "Artforum Fires Top Editor After Its Open Letter on Israel-Hamas War". The New York Times. Retrieved 2023-10-28.
  31. ^ Lennard, Daniel Boguslaw, Natasha (2023-10-27). "Bed Bath & Beyond Scion Pressured Artists to Retract Gaza Ceasefire Call in Artforum Letter". The Intercept. Retrieved 2023-10-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  32. ^ a b "An Open Letter, an Editor's Ouster, and the Ongoing Fight for the Future of Artforum". Vanity Fair. 2023-11-03. Retrieved 2023-11-30.
  33. ^ "A statement from Artforum's publishers". Artforum. 2023-10-26. Retrieved 2023-10-28.
  34. ^ Nayyar, Rhea (19 October 2023). "Leading Artists and Scholars Call for Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza". Hyperallergic. Retrieved 7 December 2023.
  35. ^ Small, Zachary (7 December 2023). "Bruised by War-Related Boycott, Artforum Seeks a Reset". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 December 2023.
  36. ^ a b Boucher, Brian (2024-03-14). "Tina Rivers Ryan Named Editor of Artforum Magazine". Artnet News. Retrieved 2024-03-15.
  37. ^ [1] Sarah Thornton, Seven Days in the Art World (2008)

Further reading

External links