ARTSCRIBE INTERNATIONAL (previously artscribe) ran from the mid-80s through til the early 90s. It was based in London, but had a group of international contributing editors, and subsequently their focus was largely on the American and European scenes of the time. I have managed to find something of interest or influence from every article. One notable article was In the summer 1989 issue, a George Condo show is reviewed by Merlin Carpenter, perhaps the most important, careless, and rigorous artist working today. He would have been 22 at the time of publishing. Some illustrative pull quotes: "Classic TV mini-series artist produces Greek shipping magnate yacht stateroom art"; "Condo looks at his Rolex, says 'who cares' to questions of value and relevance, flicks through the Picasso books littering his studio floor, and makes a few more paintings". The review goes on like this, though it's so fervent that I'm half convinced he is actually Condo's biggest fan.
WON fought hard and lost to no enemy in particular. It’s four issues were distributed for free, each copy, lying on its back in a missionary position, preached the mixed message. It was not built to last: ink faded quickly and when exposed to the sun it yellowed. It's shelf life was short. WON magazine was the paper tablecloth under the lazy-Susan of life. Its ideas and images splattering the pages like chili wontons and wine, evidence of a shared experience that will inevitably lead to other things. WON magazine is proof that ideology and aesthetics are often linked and that when oceans prevent intimacy it is nice to lay yourself down on a printed page and see who else will lie down next to you.
I recently found some back issues of Scripsi in a secondhand store in Hobart, Tasmania and have prized them ever since. The magazine was started at the University of Melbourne in 1981, and the names of its young editors are now a list of Australian heavyweights of the arts. During the 80s, the publication had an aural equivalent, the weekly radio show Scripsi of the Air. One of my favorite articles, The Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans by Alberto Manguel, opens with the following sentence: "In Eastern France, somewhere in the Franche-Comte, lies an imaginary place." As a contributor, Manguel’s companions include: Susan Sontag, Gerald Murnane, Georges Perec, Salman Rushdie, Manning Clark, Helen Garner, Michael Hamburger, and Elizabeth Jolley. The magazine, which ran until 1994, and is now stored in the Melbourne University archives, was a highpoint of literary journalism that has remained unreached since.
la revista SUR
SUR was started by Victoria Ocampo in Buenos Aires in 1931. French was Ocampo’s first language, she had a translator to help her write in Spanish (Castellano) until she was forty. According to SUR, Argentinean culture could only mature within a balanced pool of Argentinean and European writing and art. It was a point between America and Europe; a bi-directional flow of cultural traffic. The magazine finished in 1992 and should be understood not as a personal caprice of Ocampo’s, but as an Argentinean, if elitist, vehicle to approach the world and its literature.
Pick up a copy of Higher Arc here.