Many people, from both inside and outside of our city, have told me that Chicago is broken. I’ve sat through panel after panel, and have read article after article complaining about art writing in Chicago and pointing fingers at one another as to who’s to blame. I’m not interested in joining those ranks of naysayers here. I do not want to hear any more about how internet writing is deemed less important than print, and I don’t want to hear any more about how the decades-old model for arts criticism has disappeared.
You want to know what happened to arts criticism? It changed. Just like how art has changed. Oh, and now it’s on the internet.
Web writer and editor Erin Kissane explains in a recent book that, in the midst of the vast, democratic space of the internet, “the fact that anyone reads anything at all online is a demonstration of an extraordinary hunger for content.” Applied to the art world, I’d like to take this as proof that the outmoded, disappearing model of print publishing has turned our arts community to the internet to find the information that they can rely on. Art moves fast these days, and internet publishing has been poised to be the best medium through which it can be documented, expounded upon and distributed to those hungry for information.
At Chicago Art Magazine, we not only had to shoulder the weight of running our business and maintaining the quality of our publishing, but we also had to shoulder the weight of explaining the value and relevance of all internet publishing in general to an old guard of potential advertisers who have forever before been convinced of the authority of print media. Many galleries, institutions and individuals stepped up to the plate, offering support in a variety of ways, including supporting our revenue model that was heavily based upon advertising, and for that I thank you dearly.
I want to thank our dedicated Chicago readership for perusing, commenting, liking, sharing, tweeting, +1-ing and otherwise caring about our content. We dedicated our whole business to you, Chicago, and we always felt the love from our city’s artists, art-workers, gallerists, dealers and enthusiasts.
I would also like to acknowledge the woman who has made this all possible: our beloved founder and publisher, Kathryn Born. Besides being fearless, independent and exceptionally competent, Kathryn has never let her responsibility for the business’ bottom line compromise her belief in the value of artists. She is an unparalleled advocate for artists and art writers as a valuable workforce, and I absolutely cannot imagine where I would be without her mentorship.
But as Editor-in-Chief, the group I’d like to thank most is my beautiful team of loyal and talented art writers. Some of you came from Chicago, writing for decades about Chicago art and kindly adapted your skill set for the web. Others, like me, came out of art school woefully unprepared for the realities of a life as an artist, and found a voice and a platform for your ideas that I hope were assets to your careers. Others came from arts communities in other cities and other states, and still others from outside of the art world completely, courageously diving into this intimidating and incestuous world that we call the art scene.
My writers, we couldn’t pay you anywhere near as much as you deserved, but someday you will be, and you’ll have your archive of fine work here at Chicago Art Magazine.