PRINT Summer 2002


Eric Banks on Artforum, June 1962

As Artforum turns forty this month, senior editor Eric Banks looks back at the magazine’s inaugural issue, launched in San Francisco by founding editor-publisher John Irwin as a medium for the “free exchange of critical opinions.”

ARTFORUM IS AN ART MAGAZINE published in the west—but not only a magazine of western art. We are concerned first with western activity but claim the world of art as our domain.” With this declaration of manifest destiny and a blurry, mysterious, uncaptioned cover image—a shadowy Jean Tinguely thingamajig that looks like a Jurassic Park escapee in repose—Artforum came into being in June 1962 with a forty-six-page issue weighted heavily toward exhibition reviews, which bookended a feature section titled “Forum.” The design was a bit quirky—heavy-stock burnt orange dividers literally segregate the parts of the magazine—but the Pisani Printing Company’s foray into

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