PRINT September 1993

ARTFORUM ’62–’79

A Conversation

John Coplans works as an artist in New York. An exhibition of his photographs initiated at the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon, Portugal, is currently traveling. He was editor of Artforum from January 1972 to February 1977.

PETER PLAGENS: I remember you telling me in the ’70s, when you had moved to New York and I was still in Los Angeles, “You people out in L.A. think the continent of art is America, with New York on the east coast and L.A. on the west. But it’s not. The continent of art is the Atlantic Ocean, with New York on the west coast and the European cities on the east, and you guys in L.A. are Australia.” Did you feel that way in 1961–62, when Artforum was getting underway?

JOHN COPLANS: Artforum was intended by its first publisher, John Irwin, to be a commercial vehicle. Irwin went broke, and the magazine was picked up by Charlie Cowles. The commercial idea became less important.

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