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The Essential New Art Examiner

Terri Griffith, Kathryn Born, Janet Koplos

Publication Year: 2011

The New Art Examiner was the only successful art magazine ever to come out of Chicago. It had nearly a three-decade long run, and since its founding in 1974 by Jane Addams Allen and Derek Guthrie, no art periodical published in the Windy City has lasted longer or has achieved the critical mass of readers and admirers that it did. The Essential New Art Examiner gathers the most memorable and celebrated articles from this seminal publication. First a newspaper, then a magazine, the New Art Examiner succeeded unlike no other periodical of its time. Before the word “blog” was ever spoken, it was the source of news and information for Chicago-area artists. And as its reputation grew, the New Art Examiner gained a national audience and exercised influence far beyond the Midwest. As one critic put it, “it fought beyond its weight class.” The articles in The Essential New Art Examiner are organized chronologically. Each section of thebook begins with a new essay by the original editor of the pieces therein that reconsiders the era and larger issues at play in the art world when they were first published. The result is a fascinating portrait of the individuals who ran the New Art Examiner and an inside look at the artistic trendsand aesthetic agendas that guided it. Derek Guthrie and Jane Addams Allen, for instance, had their own renegade style. James Yood never shied away from a good fight. And Ann Wiens was heralded for embracing technologies and design. The story of the New Art Examiner is the story of a constantly evolving publication, shaped by talented editors and the times in which it was printed. Now, more than three decades after the journal’s founding, The Essential New Art Examiner brings together the best examples of this groundbreaking publication: great editing, great writing, a feisty staff who changed and adapted as circumstances dictated—a publication that rolled with the times and the art of the times. With passion, insight, and editorial brilliance, the staff of the New Art Examiner turned a local magazine into a national institution.

Published by: Northern Illinois University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 1-6


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pp. vii-12

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pp. xiii-16

...lication. It had a twenty-nine year run, starting in 1973 and ending in 2002, and since its founding by Jane Addams Allen and Derek Guthrie, no other art periodical has survived more than a few issues, or achieved Yet once it closed, it quickly faded into obscurity among a new gen-eration of artists. However, when Derek visited Chicago in 2008, a year ...

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The Way We Were

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pp. 3-6

...planned. I stumbled into or backed into some fabulous experiences, and certainly the New Art Examiner counts among the most rewarding. I was a graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication and was editing the Minnesota Crafts Council’s Craft Connection and freelancing art reviews for the Minneapolis Star ...

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Founding Editors 1973–1982

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pp. 7-14

The publishing of the best of the New Art Examiner is an extraor-dinary event and bears witness to an important truth, which is that the community has the ultimate power to decide and acknowledge its own reference points of merit and appreciation. In this case the community is led by Kathryn Born and Terri Griffith, who, on hearing stories of the ...

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A Painter Reviews Chicago, Part I

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pp. 15-18

It is conceivable that in certain cities most of the major visual statements of the past twenty years have been made within the realms of “pictorial” or “prepresentational” art. However, for the most part, this is not the case in Chicago. Here, through the continual: re-hash of the same old tired “Dada Surrealist” concepts and also through the constant ...

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A Painter Reviews Chicago, Part II

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pp. 19-23

In the first part of this article I began discussing the state of affairs of the visual arts in Chicago. I wrote briefly about the art politics that have controlled this city for several decades, culminating in a well-nourished and masterfully engineered, self-proliferating, pseudo lunatic aesthetic which is evident to varying degrees in ninety-five percent of all ...

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The Tradition

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pp. 24-34

What happened to the “new regionalism” which seemed in 1973 to be the ground swell of the future? At that time critics and artists vied with each other in pouring scorn on internationalist, formalist New York art. It was a time for true grit, corn pone, anti intellectualism, nostalgia, ecology and a-political funk—a time of cozy artists’ get-togethers where ...

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Letter to Aspiring Filmmakers

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pp. 35-39

Much of it is half-baked, but it’s sure that “the 20th century art form” is catching on. Some declare cynically that interest in film is related to the decline in literacy. Be that as it may, it seems that film has become the To develop a critical response is relatively easy, but to then meet one’s own expectations as a film maker is a very different matter. Learning to ...

Dear Profession of Art Writing

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pp. 40-48

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The Flavin File

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pp. 49-53

...suspect in a fairly knowledgeable brain because of the uneasy sensation that this frustration is easily likenable to philistinism. But Alan Artner’s fine phrase aside, “Flavin has weathered the changes in the American art climate better . . . than many of his Minimalist brethren,” the work both graphic and light, has always bugged some people and the problems and ...

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Art Criticism

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pp. 54-70

Are there ideas native to Black artists that critics overlook? The question has been asked many times before but the answers have not led to change that the overwhelming number of Black artists would consider to be even remotely satisfactory. The shortage of published criticism of the works of Black artists would lead to the assumption that there are no ...

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N.A.M.E. at Six

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pp. 71-78

My friend Jeff has a very provocative theory about the art world and co-operative galleries, or, to be more precise, “artist-run alternative spaces.” His theory goes something like this: Alternative spaces founded and run by artists are “contexts for the insecure.” This phrase means sim-ply that those persons (artists) who have no standing in the art world are ...

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pp. 79-80

...all but buried it. Before laying it to rest consider: in its diversity and lack of distinction, it may have been the ultimate metaphor for the seventies. Its multiplicity was an extension of the ME generation—of divergent interest groups all shouting for equal rights—of individual morality demanding “get down,” “do your own thing,” and “I need my own space.” ...

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Young Chicagoans Prefer Engagement to Avant -Gardism

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pp. 81-90

The past decade has seen a tremendous surge in Chicago’s pres-tige and importance as an art town. Manhattan dealers have “raided” Chicago lofts (See NAE, May 1981), while, at the same time, numerous Chicago artists have emigrated to New York and made it. Currently up-permost in everyone’s minds is the third annual Navy Pier Show, the ...

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pp. 91-96

Sometime in the late winter or early spring of 1979—more than thirty years ago, as I now look back—I first entered the New Art Examiner office at 230 East Ontario Street, just off Michigan Avenue. In the heart of what was then Chicago’s gallery district and just down the street from the original Museum of Contemporary Art, the quarters appeared dingy and ...

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The Word Vs . The Image

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pp. 97-102

...phy ripped into the curious silence surrounding photography and opened the way for the photographic community to think about photographic images in ways that included more than mere investigation into formal values—ways that included the historical and cultural contexts out of which the images came. We are now seeing the publication of collections of ...

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Reflections on Glass

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pp. 103-110

Studio glass is still in its literal adolescence, having only escaped from the confines of the factory after Harvey Littleton’s pair of work-shops at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1962. Before that, there had been utilitarian glass, decorative glass and so-called “art glass”—all produced by skilled factory workers according to a designer’s specifications. Little-...

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A Reader’s Guide to Structuralist Criticism

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pp. 111-120

...art critics and their readers, like couples in a Tom Stoppard play, derive a great deal of satisfaction from insulting each other. At the moment, the main source of their mutual irritation seems to be the issue of difficulty. Readers insult critics for being unreadable, or at least, for being too dif-ficult to read. Detecting here a double standard, critics retort that written ...

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Harris Bank Facelift Raises Legal Questions October 1981

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pp. 121-125

The mutilation of portraits is an old story. It has been done both by owners and by painters themselves. Whistler defaced his own portrait of Lady Eden in a quarrel over the fee. It is rumored that, in the basement of Emerson Hall, there is a group picture of the pre-World War II Harvard philosophy department in which the likeness of George Santayana ...

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The (Declining) Power of Review

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pp. 126-134

When I first received the suggested topic of this talk in the mail, it distressed me. “The Power of Review.”—Somehow, it did not quite agree with the way I thought of myself. The “Power of Review” suggested something military to me. It called up the image of a cinematic sergeant As a critic, I did not envisage myself as a tough-minded professional ...

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III—JAMES YOOD, Editor 1984–1987—Introduction

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pp. 135-138

Oh, the New Art Examiner, I’m all over that, first I wrote for it, then I worked for it, then I edited it, then I wrote for it, then I was on its board of directors, and probably a day still doesn’t pass that I don’t have some cause to think about it. The NAE suited me just fine; if Chicago is the annoying little brother of American culture, contemporary art’s disloyal ...

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Explicit—Towards a Feminist Theory of Art Criticism

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pp. 139-146

...feminism has altered the content and constructs of art history over the past 15 years and continues to do so. However, many art historians, like their compatriots in other academic disciplines, view the adoption of a feminist perspective with suspicion. Simply put, detractors claim that feminist art historians and critics are narrow and self-indulgent and ...

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Who Follows the Hairy Who?

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pp. 147-154

Artists make art. It is critics who concern themselves with the question as to when a group of artists constitute a movement or col-lectively define a style. Such categorization is inevitable; no matter how individualistic a certain artist may be, no matter how entrenched our notion of the primacy of a single artistic vision, no artist is larger than ...

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pp. 155-164

When I was asked to give this lecture (given to the Society for Contemporary Art, at the Art Institute of Chicago, March 20, 1985) it was suggested that I speak on the phenomenon for which I seem to have coined the name: “Chicagoization.” My first impulse was to say no, for the reason that I think that all uses of this little Frankenstein-monster ...

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The Art Scene of the ’80s

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pp. 165-175

...the art scene of the 1980s and seeing it in a perspective reaching back to the 1960s and even the ’50s, cannot but have the impression that we are living in a distinctly new period. Not merely because of the passage of years, but because of the issues that characterize the life of art at the This sense of a new period haunts not only the art of our time, as we see ...

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Sponsors hip or Censors hip

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pp. 176-190

NA E—In 1970, the Guggenheim Museum invited you to give an exhibi-tion of your work. Six weeks before the opening in 1971, the director that the work you had proposed, analyzing the ownership of slum properties in Harlem and the Lower East Side, was libelous to the museum, despite the fact that you culled all the information from ...

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pp. 191-193


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The ‘Madness’ of Chicago Art

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pp. 194-201

As I begin to write about the “Chicagoness” of Chicago art—as though it is possible to give an essence to what has a vigorously diverse existence—I am in dread of incurring Franz Schulze’s wrath. Schulze took Russell Bowman to task for arguing that “the central concept of the Chicago Imagists was that commonplace imagery, and vernacular, ...

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IV—Ann Wiens Editor

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pp. 202-206

...as editor of the New Art Examiner. To the best of our ability, we covered the issues and influences affecting how art was being created, exhibited, transmitted and discussed, and we did so “without fear or favor,” as founding editors Derek Guthrie and Jane Addams Allen had emphati-I initially became a subscriber to the magazine when I was an art ...

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On View

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pp. 207-212

...greeted with the usual anguish, outrage, and expletives, followed, in a more apprehensive tone, by the observation that of the 82 artists included, only nine are painters. Could this possibly be an indication that painting really is, finally, dead? Did the inflated market of the ’80s, the rejection of a Modernist hegemony, and the impulse toward more “reality-based” ...

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Comfort Cut on the (Gender ) Bias

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pp. 213-216

In 1976, when I was in the seventh grade at Western View Junior High, I was the only boy in Mrs. Farnes’s needlecraft class. I spent the term latch-hooking a Mickey Mouse rug, laughing and yakking with the girls. Unsurprisingly, this was right around the time when I was branded a fag by boys more interested in metal shop. It was an accusation which I ...

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Public Domain

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pp. 217-220

Ralph Metcalfe Federal Building Clark st. and Jackson Blvd., Chicagois perhaps the very reason it has witnessed a surge of activity over the past decade. Originally the offspring of the museum/gallery discourse, public art has become largely independent of its parent, and as the di-versity and depth of its projects attest, it has now reached puberty. But ...

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Art’s Demise

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pp. 221-231

The impulse to censor art is not the exclusive domain of either the political Right or the Left. We all share the inclination to quash ex-During the past few years a great deal of attention has been focused on a loose alliance of religious fundamentalists, conservative politicians, and neoconservative cultural critics who have assailed the cultural ex-...

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Please Pay Attention Please

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pp. 232-234

One of my favorite recurring lines from the I Love Lucy show is when Lucy, after getting caught in the act of one of her many hair-brained schemes, is confronted by Ricky. Hands on hips and head cocked, he always looks at her and says, “Looooooosssseeee! ’Splain it to me!”Educational programming: or “splaining” contemporary art, as I like ...

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. . . In a Place Like This ?

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pp. 235-242

...with those of the 1995 Whitney Biennial, “About Place: Recent Art of the Americas,” at the Art Institute of Chicago, could hardly escape comparison on some levels with that much-anticipated New York show. Each exhibition was tightly commanded by a single curatorial hand and each included works by Jeff Wall, Brice Marden, and Andrea Zittel. But ...

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Bigger, Better, Faster, More?

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pp. 243-254

...ing drum rolls, it’s easy to lose sight of a significant fact: Chicago will finally have a Museum, a building actually meant as a Museum, a Mu-seum built specifically to house and display Contemporary Art. It will no longer be the museum founded essentially as a kunsthalle, a tempo-rary exhibition hall, in a renovated office building nearly 29 years ago; ...

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On View

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pp. 255-258

Street operation to the public in preparation to move to its new Mies van der Rohe Way digs in June. Serving toxic-looking cake spray-painted with the mostly black museum logo, the employees wear nostalgic smiles, and take turns getting photographed pointing at their names painted on A friend and I climb the stairs to view the museum’s photographic ...

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VJAN ESTEP, Editor—1979–1982—A Day In The Life

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pp. 259-264

...fected the course my life has taken, in terms of my knowledge base, art experience and, most significantly for me, my writing. It extended my art-world education in a way that would have been impossible to do on my own, putting me in daily contact with contemporary art at all points on the spectrum. From the behind-the-scenes view of a museum curator ...

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Heroin Chic, Trendy Aesthetics ,and the Politics of Pathology

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pp. 265-279

In the Postmodern world described by Jean Baudrillard, daily life consists of an endless series of simulations that lack any concrete referents. Disneyland becomes a model for a sanitized society purged of politics, a society in which representations become increasingly homogenized and cease to be read critically as part of a broader strategy of understand-...

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Art Is Dead

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pp. 280-291

...into the theory and practice of creation.” roe. One is by Willem de Kooning, the other by Andy Warhol. They are separated by only eight years—de Kooning’s Marilyn Monroe was painted in 1954, Warhol’s Gold Marilyn Monroe, a combination of silkscreen, oil, and synthetic polymer paint on canvas manufactured in 1962—but they ...

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Ha Ha Ha

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pp. 292-298

I’ve had an uneasy relationship with Richard Billingham’s work: both with the artist’s intent, and with its emotional resonance. The book features snapshot pictures of the artist’s family taken over a six-year period from 1990 to 1996: the alcoholic father Ray, the obese mother Liz, and the fidgety younger brother Jason. They live in what appears to ...

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Test Family

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pp. 299-307

...physiological study on working families. Arriving Fed Ex from the Al-fred P. Sloan Family Center at the University of Chicago to our home in Oak Park, the study’s test-kit included labeled Zip-lock Baggies stuffed with sanitary plastic syringes, teeny-tiny medical vials, pre-programmed After filling out pages of questionnaires, sitting through several inter-...

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Kerry James Marshall

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pp. 308-313

What did Sam Cooke’s mother’s house look like? If Mercy Dee had a sister, how did she decorate her living room? If you have a likely idea, then chances are good that you are black. Whites, especially of a certain age and class, are more often than not familiar with the songs, but not the people. If you are white, Aretha Franklin’s recorded voice may ...

Notes on a Midwest Make Over

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pp. 314-324


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pp. 325-350

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pp. 337-351

...craft this book into its finished form. Anne Roecklein single handedly managed all of the permissions. Jay Crenshaw digitally converted and proofread nearly every article contained within these pages. Robin Dluzen helped check the accuracy of the hundreds of proper names. John McKinnon offered excellent editorial suggestions and compiled many of ...

E-ISBN-13: 9781609090371
Print-ISBN-13: 9780875806624

Page Count: 306
Publication Year: 2011