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Sotheby's to exhibit 570+ Artforum issues, part of new partnership with magazine
Cover Artists Include Frank Stella, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, Walter de Maria, Diane Arbus, Agnes Martin, Louise Bourgeois, Kara Walker, Yinka Shonibare, and more. Courtesy Artforum.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s New York presents a special exhibition in partnership with Artforum to showcase six decades of the leading art world publication’s covers, which have never before been publicly displayed together. The exhibition, Covering the Art World: Six Decades of Artforum, will feature all 573 Artforum covers published from 1962, when the magazine was founded, to the present day.

For the exhibition, original Artforum issues will be displayed chronologically, with individual cover artists identified for each issue, creating a panorama of the history of contemporary art that visually charts the magazine’s editorial approach for nearly 60 years, from the early issues when the conversation was still primarily focused on representational art and Abstract Expressionism in the early 1960s, to the development of Minimalism, Performance art, Land art, Conceptual art, and other practices across the decades. The result is a visual time capsule and a who’s who of the artists who defined their respective periods. Among the artists whose work has featured on Artforum covers are Frank Stella, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Lee Krasner, Robert Smithson, Helen Frankenthaler, Walter De Maria, Diane Arbus, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, Louise Bourgeois, Robert Mapplethorpe, George Condo, Barbara Kruger, Kara Walker, Tom Sachs, Yinka Shonibare, and many others.

A separate gallery space will include a library of select issues of Artforum that have especially significant covers, essays, and reviews for guests to browse and experience first-hand. The installation will also feature reproductions of several examples of seminal criticism (written by critics and artists alike), highlighting how Artforum came to be known as one of the definitive tastemakers and interpreters of contemporary art.

Artists have always been at the center of Artforum’s mission, not just from the perspective of providing critical analysis, exhibition reviews, and artist interviews. The magazine has a long history of commissioning artist projects for special covers and features, and the installation will feature projects created for the magazine by artists Laurie Anderson, Nan Goldin, Lucas Samaras, Cindy Sherman, and others. There will also be a section dedicated to specially created ads by artists Ed Ruscha, Jeff Koons, Robert Morris, and perhaps most famously Lynda Benglis, whose 1974 ad featuring a nude photographic self-portrait of herself with an oversized sex toy has since become a powerful icon of feminist art.

Covering the Art World inaugurates a new partnership between Sotheby’s and Artforum, which includes collaborating on content and programming initiatives, such as this exhibition, and Sotheby's will utilize Artforum's unparalleled archive—which took 12 years to digitize—to enrich its auction cataloguing. Sotheby’s will also host a series of conversations, called “Artforum Presents,” that will bring together Artforum editors, writers and other luminaries to explore current events and issues in contemporary art. The series is scheduled to launch with a conversation on 24 July featuring Artforum Editor-in-Chief David Velasco, Publisher Tony Korner, and Board Member and former publisher Amy Baker Sandback to discuss the history of the magazine from their personal

Free and open to the public, Covering the Art World: Six Decades of Artforum will be on view from 24 July through 23 August 2019 in Sotheby’s New York galleries, located at 1334 York Avenue.

Anthony Calnek, Sotheby’s Worldwide Director of Media Services said: “Artforum has been the defining voice of the contemporary art world from the 1960s to today, and Sotheby’s is delighted to partner with the magazine on new content and programming initiatives – starting with this unique exhibition and the launch of ‘Artforum Presents,’ and continuing through to our cataloguing. The cover of Artforum has always represented the most innovative art being made, doing so with tremendous visual appeal. As Artforum finishes a vast digitization project, making its unparalleled content accessible to a broader public, Sotheby’s is excited to pay tribute to this extraordinary publication by bringing all covers together for the first time. The result is simultaneously fresh and fun, while also providing a short history of contemporary art from the dawn of Pop to today’s activist-fueled art.”

David Velasco, Artforum Editor-in-Chief, stated: “Artforum is where you go when you want things to matter. It is the unlikely convocation of university gurus and polarizing art junkies, all devoted to the perpetual reinvention of one of our great intellectual projects. Tony Korner, who has so confidently stewarded this ship for nearly four decades, is a personal hero. What a rare honor to get to talk to him amid Sotheby’s sensitive, intelligent exhibition of our history.”

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