PRINT September 1993

ARTFORUM ’62–’79

Let Slip the Dogs of War: Editing Artforum

RETURNING FROM THE Venice Biennale this June with the obligatory haul of books and catalogues, I was reminded of my 1972 trip back from Kassel, carrying a cherished cargo of Documenta V catalogues to New York for Artforum’s review. It was that summer that I began working at the magazine on its tenth-anniversary issue. Artforum’s staff at that time was small—six all told—and its quarters abysmal, but the intellectual climate was highly charged, if not adversarial. This—the artists’ activism, the editorial controversies, the confrontations with institutional strictures—was the best part of the job. From “internationalism” to “feminism,” from the “quality” debate to the “dildo” debate, from the first piece of copy I produced (an interview with Claes Oldenburg) to that last (a deposition for the Pasadena Museum court case, the upshot of the publication in the February 1975 issue of a controversial article addressing Norton Simon’s takeover of the Pasadena Art Museum), my Artforum experience provided an extraordinary education. Since then, my commitment to artists and objects has remained constant, reflected most recently in my role as a partner of a New York gallery. It is with a mixture of pride and nostalgia that I recall those heady early days at Artforum.

Angela Westwater is a partner in the Sperone Westwater Gallery. She served as managing editor of Artforum from October 1972 to June 1975.