PRINT September 1993

ARTFORUM ’62–’79

ARTFORUM ’62–’79

THE FIRST SECTION of this issue is dedicated to “the old Artforum,” though the writers disagree on just when that journal was published and precisely what it was. For John Irwin, who founded the magazine in 1962 and kept it running during its first three years, “the old Artforum” was a promising but decidedly shoestring operation run out of a San Francisco printer’s office as a sideline business. For Charles Cowles, the magazine’s second owner, interviewed here by Henry Geldzahler, it was first a student project easing the way toward graduation from Stanford, then a ten-year way of life. During the first half of Cowles’ tenure as publisher, Philip Leider served as Artforum’s editor. We cannot say how Leider remembers those years; now living in Israel, he has cut his connections with the art world. But friends and colleagues who knew him at the time—Walter Hopps, Richard Serra, Irving Blum, John Coplans, Chuck Close, and Michael Fried—suggest quite vividly what “the old Artforum” may have been to Leider, or, rather, what Leider’s “old Artforum” was to them.

Coplans also shares memories of an Artforum of his own, describing his editorship of the magazine, during the first half of the ’70s, to Newsweek art critic Peter Plagens. For a period during Coplan’s tenure, Angela Westwater was his managing editor; she recalls an Artforum of rewarding disputatiousness. Robert Pincus-Witten, who contributed to the magazine from the mid ’60s through the mid ’70s, writes that “the page was his party,” though whether a political party or a soiree he does not specify. Finally Joseph Masheck, who succeeded Coplans as editor and saw out the ’70s here, meditates on an Artforum of formalism and faith.

In late 1979, Cowles sold the magazine to its present owner, Anthony Korner. The Artforum of the ’80s is discussed in the final section of this issue, beginning on page 169.