Artists call for boycott after Artforum fires its top editor

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Saturday, June 22, 2024


Artists call for boycott after Artforum fires its top editor
Several artists have said they will stop working with the magazine after its response to an open letter that called for Palestinian liberation and a cease-fire.

By Zachary Small



NEW YORK, NY.- One day after Artforum magazine fired its top editor, David Velasco, because of an open letter it published about the Israel-Hamas war, another editor resigned and several prominent artists said they would boycott the publication unless Velasco was reinstated.

Divisions over how to discuss the conflict in the Middle East have frayed yearslong relationships between collectors and artists. On Friday, Nicole Eisenman and Nan Goldin criticized the magazine’s owner for terminating Velasco, who had been its editor-in-chief for six years, and said they would no longer work with Artforum.

“I have never lived through a more chilling period,” said Goldin, who is one of the most celebrated living photographers and signed the open letter that called for Palestinian liberation and a cease-fire. “People are being blacklisted. People are losing their jobs.”

Nearly 50 Artforum employees and contributors have signed a different letter demanding that Velasco be reinstated, saying his termination “not only carries chilling implications for Artforum’s editorial independence but disaffirms the very mission of the magazine: to provide a forum for multiple perspectives and cultural debate.”

There was a backlash among some readers after the magazine published an open letter on Oct. 19 that did not initially mention the attack by Hamas that killed more than 1,400 Israelis.

A sudden campaign of letters denounced the thousands of artists and cultural workers, including Velasco, who had signed the letter. Gallerists urged people to remove their names from the letter, and several collectors asked the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University to shut down an exhibition of Jumana Manna, a Palestinian artist who signed the open letter. (A museum spokesperson said it would continue to exhibit Manna’s work; she confirmed that the show was still on.)

Artforum distanced itself from the open letter after receiving pressure from advertisers. The magazine’s publishers later released a statement that said the post was “not consistent with Artforum’s editorial process,” adding that it was “widely misinterpreted as a statement from the magazine about highly sensitive and complex geopolitical circumstances.”

Penske Media Corp., which owns Artforum, did not respond to a request for comment.

At least one editor resigned from Artforum after its decision to fire Velasco: Kate Sutton, who had been an associate editor since 2018, said she was “absolutely gutted” and was “not sure I can see a way forward for the magazine.”

More than a dozen artists told The New York Times that threats of reprisal from collectors made it difficult to publicly defend their decision to sign the open letter, emphasizing that their intention was to call for peace.

“Collectors are always, in one way or another, making a big deal out of something an artist signed,” said Eisenman, an artist who has exhibited with institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art. “But it is still surprising to learn how many collectors believe that owning a few drawings of mine means they get to tell me what to do with my name.”

She added: “I want to echo what activists have been yelling in the streets: Not in my name. This war will not be done in my name. I resent these cowardly bullying and blackmail campaigns to distract everyone in the art world from the central demand of the letter, which was: cease-fire!”

Some collectors tried to persuade artists to retract their signatures. Others in the art world threatened to voice their concerns by selling works from those who signed the letter.

“We have a de-accession plan” that would “diminish the artists’ status,” Sarah Lehat Blumenstein, who fundraises for a major museum, wrote to members of a WhatsApp group organized as a response to the open letter.

In a phone interview, Blumenstein, who is Jewish, said that such a plan was not active and that her efforts to hold artists accountable came from a fear that rising antisemitism was endangering her right to exist.

Goldin said people had incorrectly conflated antisemitism with supporting Palestinians.

“Whatever position we took was our right to free speech,” she said. “I have no plans to work with Artforum because they fired someone for whom I have enormous respect.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.










Today's News

October 29, 2023

Are 'Secret Room' drawings by Michelangelo? Now, visitors can judge for themselves.

The good. The bad. The ugly. Inside Berlusconi's art collection.

Artists call for boycott after Artforum fires its top editor

Old Faithful is boiling, smelly and the perfect home for these living things

Ida Applebroog, whose art confronted relationships, dies at 93

Hidden art: A rhapsody for the soul, in 10 city corners

Chiswick's Nov. 7 auction led by rare Aesthetic Movement cabinet that incorporates Dutch Old Master painting

West End theatergoers grumble as prices for the best seats surge

The estates of Fred Bentley, Sr. and Vectra Orkin Barnette will be sold by Ahlers & Ogletree

American Art Week at Bonhams in November

Sofia Coppola makes it look easy. It isn't.

Paintings by Maud Lewis and Joe Norris share the spotlight in Miller & Miller's Folk Art auction

(La)Horde: Dancing out primal impulses and resistance

Joe Hill, swashbuckling South Street Seaport merchant, dies at 76

Art of the samurai comes to life in Sworders' Nov. 2 auction of Dennison Collection

Calder, Botero, Haring and Anuszkiewicz lead Heritage's Modern & Contemporary Art event

Two paintings by Daniel Garber to be sold by John McInnis Auctioneers

Frank Miller's cover introducing his Batman and Robin leaps into Heritage's November Comics Event

Nohra Haime Gallery announces the addition of Nessim Bassan to their roster of artists

'Levee' by Adrianna Ault to be published by VOID

Thornton Wilder's 'Our Town' to return to Broadway next fall

The Comedy Club was as intimate as a living room. Actually, it was one.

Heritage's Nov. 16 Silver Auction serves rare Tiffany & Co. 'Lap-Over-Edge' dinner service

Rare Rabindranath Tagore landscapes come to Bonhams South Asian Art sale

How to Customize Water Bottles: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide

Types of Online Slots

Factors You Need To Consider To Choose The Best Online Casino

Why Students Should Be More Interested




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful