Episode 168: Derek Guthrie

November 16, 2008 · Print This Article

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Derek Guthrie

This week, guest host James Yood and Duncan interview Derek Guthrie, co-founder of the New Art Examiner for an illuminating history lesson.

New Art Examiner was a Chicago-based art magazine. Founded in October 1973 by Derek Guthrie and Jane Addams Allen, its final issue was dated May-June 2002.

At the time of the New Art Examiner ‘s launch, in October 1973, Chicago was “an art backwater.” Artists who wished to be taken seriously left Chicago for New York City, and apart from a few local phenomena, such as the Hairy Who, little attention was given to Chicago art and artists.

Called in Art in America “a stalwart of the Chicago scene,” the New Art Examiner was conceived to counter this bias and was almost the only art magazine to give any attention to Chicago and midwestern artists (Dialogue magazine, which covered midwestern art exclusively, was founded in Detroit in 1978, but it has also ceased publication). Editor Jane Allen, an art historian who studied under Harold Rosenberg at the University of Chicago, was influential in developing new writers who later became significant on the New York scene and encouraged a writing style that was lively, personal, and honestly critical.

Over the next three decades Chicago’s art scene flourished, with new museums, more art dealers, and increased art festivals, galleries, and alternative spaces. Critics asserted that the New Art Examiner “ignored, opposed or belittled” Chicago’s artistic developments, that it was overly politicized, overloaded with jargon, and did not serve the Chicago or midwest arts communities.

The critics and artists who wrote for the New Art Examiner, included Fred Camper, Jan Estep, Ann Wiens, Adam Green (cartoonist), Robert Storr, Carol Diehl, Jerry Saltz, Eleanor Heartney, Carol Squiers, Janet Koplos and Mark Staff Brandl.

New Art Examiner
Derek Guthrie
James Yood
Art Institute of Chicago
Jane Addams Allen
Betsy Baker
University of Chicago
Joshua Taylor
Art News
Blackstone Rangers
Martyl Langsdorf
Museum of Contemporary Art
Ed Paschke
Franz Schulze
Art in America
Lake Forest College
Jack Burnham
Defilement: A Story of the Art World
Proximity magazine Ed Marszewski
James Wood
Illinois Art Council
Michael Bonesteel
Smithsonian Fellowship
Dennis Adrian
Alan Artner
Van Gogh
Jesse Helms
Kathryn Hixson
Eleanor Hartney
Alice Thorson
Robert Storr
Peter Schjeldahl
Joseph Beuys

284 thoughts on “Episode 168: Derek Guthrie”

  1. Stephen lee says:

    hello again,

    I just wanted to say that Art Monthly in London is closely aligned to the independent spirit of the NAE. But the mission of the NAE is specifically based in American pragmatism of Jane Adams the philosopher, as such this is very unique and valuable to Chicago.

    maybe go hardcopy for features, reviews and responses and letters on web?

  2. The Shark says:

    Richard -I notice how little attention, how few votes your poll has…….seems like a lot of concern-

    Personally I understand the need for pseudonyms – I use one myself -though it is a very public one-but when you have someone like ‘Steve’ coming on -saying fairly unspeakable things about my little girl….put yourself in my place Richard..would you tolerate it if it was you child? Or put another way, does a scumbag need a pseudonymn? Do you want to protect that form of sleazy anonymity?

    Outside third party… you mean like what Matt Leblanc? – who is always pressing his petty little vendetta against me personally …….do you recall the gay asian San Francisco based performance artist -who name was used by an anonymous source to attack me some time back on your site? Now who but someone very involved with the scene in San Francisco would even know of that particular artist……..did you ever question LeBlanc about his involvement -I would if I were you -and while you are at it, with the rich history of bay area art -that I for one was deeply involved in for years -and then the LA scene -a context with which I am also very steeped in, why don’t you guys get someone really good -say, a Mark Pauline or a Roger Hermann or someone slightly less lightweight to anchor the west coast for you? Just an idea.

    Do I enjoy the unending parade of Tim Porges types who without fail take the thread away from its content -into personal attacks on me -a person they don’t even know -my work -which as we saw on this thread Tim knew nothing of? Of course I don’t like it…..its annoying, stupid and unfortunate……am I in part to blame -of course, I have a volatile nature and an aggression to who I am that is I’m sure somewhat of a character flaw….so be it, no ones perfect. At the same time, when I come on this blog, its almost always, with a row to hoe and points to be made, with substance…something that cannot always be said when it comes to my detractors.

    I say, ban the Steve’s that periodically show up -I believe everyones freedom of speech is worth our suffering each other even in egregious examples -like Tim Porges. We are all big boys and girls, tempers flare, the discussion heats up……it sure beats no discussion-

  3. Tom Zurfluh says:

    I have known Derek since he was teaching drawing and painting at NU’s “Evening Division” where I was one of his students. He was and is a fabulous teacher, capable of challenging students to do more than they possibly could imagine with their talent – be that talent great or small. He did not simply come it, teach and leave. While we had signed up to learn technique, he expanded that horizon to art history with field trips on our own time and his to museums, to painting outdoors on Saturdays, but most importantly to after class discussions in the basement of Gino’s where we were challenged to respond to what was happening in the art world with our opinions and their defense.

    Defending my ideas and listening to others defend theirs was my first exposure to Derek’s love of discourse.

    I was was there when Derek found out he and Jane had been let go from the Trib. He was genuinely perplexed as to why. I later came to know Jane as well and contrary to one of the statements above, I never knew her to miss a deadline – miss sleep maybe but not a deadline.

    As a teacher Derek inspired such loyalty that a large percentage of the class, most of whom had figured to do a quarter or two, continued for quarter after quarter. Some of them have been involved in the art world to this day and done good things for the Chicago Art World. Arlene Rakoncay comes to mind.

    When the Dean told Derek he was to be replaced the following quarter to make room for a recently graduated art major who could not find a job, eight of us requested a meeting with the Dean to argue for retaining Derek. Truly a weird meeting – she brought her lawyer! I never understood why.

    When she would not relent, the same group went in with Derek, rented a storefront studio and continued painting and learning. A little restaurant with red and white checkered tablecloths on Halsted replaced Gino’s. It was there that Derek first proposed the idea of an art publication to encourage open discourse among the art community in Chicago. We all tried to talk him out of it on the grounds that serious publishing takes deep pockets and generally involves getting big money backing with an agenda. Who the hell was going to back a publication based on open discourse with anyone’s and everyone’s views aired? It simply did not make business sense to me as I have a degree in engineering, not art history.

    But it did start; not as the NAE but as a 4 page mimeographed newsletter published out of a church basement on Fullerton by the newly created Chicago New Art Association. I still have a few but if anyone has copies I would dearly like to have them as part of hopefully someday putting together a full set of them pluss the NAEs to donate to a museum, whether that be in Chicago or perhaps the British Museum in St. Ives. (There is a rational reason behind the choice of St, Ives.) As best I recall there were two years of newsletters before the NAE was first published in tabloid form with advertisers and all the grown up publishing stuff. I served on the board of directors for over 10 years and still find it hard to believe it ever got off the ground.

    True to their word, Derek and Jane occupied the middle ground, taking in and publishing all points of view, whether or not they corresponded to their own or somebody powerfull’s agenda. This made fund raising a bitch. The staff could take ads but could not promise reviews of house artists or promotion – or exclusion – of other artists, galleries, museums, collectors, or agendas. Sort of like standing in a glass box surrounded by a mad crowd with rocks!

    The staff was only paid about half what they should have been. The only reason this worked was that everybody – Derek, Jane, and every staff person was paid exactly the same. Everybody shared the pain equally. None of us on the board was paid at all.

    The NAE was always hanging on from day to day like a person from a ledge by the fingernails. Subscriptions were the primary income, which wasn’t enough – ever. Economically, the worst day came not from the advertisers, writers, critics or printers but from the US government. Interest rates on borrowed money were running 8 to over 12 percent but you could use your FICA money and only pay 3 percent interest, which we did. This was just fine until Uncle Sugar decided that everybody had 6 months to pay what they owed or start paying 18 percent. The NAE needed to raise about $25,000. That was done but may account for some of the complaints of writers and critics getting paid late. It was a question of survival. However, to the best of my knowledge everybody eventually either got paid or agreed to some sort of accomodation. If you sacrificed some in those dark days, thank you. For without everybodys’ sacrifices the NAE would not have lasted 10 years, let alone 25.

    The NAE conciously avoided taking sides in the ongoing power struggles, particularly those taking place outside the public view between those with something to gain or lose who where manipulating others for profit. Over the years the NAE developed writers and critics who have gone on to do well, brought new artists to the art world’s attention, and published the opinions and editorial content of many more Chicago artists and critics than any othe publication. The NAE went on to be influential on a national level as well.

    The really sad part is not that the NAE fell into the wrong hands and died, but that judging by the comments I have read about Derek’s interview, the Chicago art scene is still as polarized as ever. Will we ever learn that art in Chicago is not black and white – you are either for me or against me – but comes in many shades of gray that we need to learn about, celebrate, share, and encourage? If we continue to behave like a bunch of provincial peasants, the world at large will never take our views or our art seriously. We could suffer a fate worse than making bad art, we could end up making art with the potential to be great that never gets noticed – let alone given serious consideration. Your best work could end up being meaningless because it is not seen, discussed, your arguments presented, then decried, defended, praised, or even noticed by history. Is that what we collectively want for Chicago art?

    I for one do not. I want my fellow artists to support one another even if we at the same time try to convince each other that the path to the future is “A” or “B”. I myself may or may not ever paint a significant painting or write an important critique but I sure as hell want those who do to be seen and heard and discussed, then let history be the judge.


  4. Fern Shaffer says:


    You really explained it well. It was exciting to be part of the staff making the NAE. It was amazing that the NAE existed at all. It was read by lots of people who joined in the dialogue with many points of view on both sides of the fence, it did not matter, it was the vehicle for discourse.

  5. John Link says:

    Thanks Tom. I knew everyone made the same money the several times I visited the NAE shop and like you thought it was too little. But it was really obvious that the group was unified in its purpose to get the publication out. They were amazing in their ability to cooperate. I have always fancied that the equal pay thing was part of it.

    And yes Fern, it was amazing that the NAE kept on publishing. Money seemed to be the primary obstacle. (I was on the board for a while. There was not enough money for the publication to purchase liability insurance, for instance, which exposed everyone to lawsuits, none of which ever came, fortunately.) Money will be a problem if the NAE or something like it is attempted again. The other problem will be finding good people who will do the work.

    Michael Workman: I hope you are accurate about your assertion that you are able to put together that kind of funding. Are you talking about just printing costs, or salaries for the workers too? As someone said way back, just being in print makes no gurantee that the thing is good. There is a real need, I think, for something like what the NAE gave us, a place where the writing was first for itself, as opposed to serving a larger system. New Criterion comes closest to that now, but they are so narrow and repetitious that they only influence those who are already convinced. But they do serve themselves first (and are good wordsmiths). While I admire their devotion to ideals, I quit reading them years ago because their ideals come before their experience of art. The sort of publication I’m interested in is one that gives a voice to the best proponets of a wide range of ideals, including those of the New Criterion if they want to participate.

    Mark: I am surprised to learn that your suggestions for intensified dialoge were not taken, at least for an issue or two. Just as they had an “education” issue and a “craft” issue each year, they could have easily had a “theory” issue. In any case, cooperation between the various entities you described should be fertile, without necessarily having any of them give up their own identity.

    Kathryn: you certainly have a tiger by the tail here. There is no great choice. Suffering fools seems to be built into the nature of the web. I voted “sigh”. My sigh was so large in fact, that it almost caused me to refrain from voting. There is something insane about dots on the screen. They seem “personal” but there is no looking at the face or the eyes or the expressions or body language of the one who authors them, nor do the authors have acess tothe same characteristics of their readers. I know a number of rather gentle people who are terrors online, to my great surprise. I think they stimulate others in certain ways to react, and it can become a chain reaction that gets out of hand. If it’s your blog, run it like you want to. One technique is to shut down comments for a couple of days. Maybe you have tried that.

    Well, cheers to everyone.

  6. Michael Workman says:


    To you or anyone: I hope Derek and I will be able to work out needs when he visits Miami later this week as my guest. I wish to provide him much-needed time to rest, but this is a pressing issue, and I will be open to opportunities for planning. Is there a way we can continue this community discussion after the comment section of this podcast expires? please assist to solve this dead-ending issue if you are able…my email is mworkman@bridgeartfair.com…it is a massive imperative, given clear notice as we have that the discussion has come under increasing editorial peril from the administrators. Please help keep the discussion growing, and by discusssion I mean just that.

  7. The Shark says:

    Michael -as a new member of The Sharkpack, I say to you fellow shark, lets move it to the cool grey-green waters of SHARKFORUM!

  8. duncan says:

    Marc LeBlanc was not responsible for the above. He has at no time posted here anonymously. Please do not drag him into this or imply that he is responsible for things which he is not.


  9. Tom Zurfluh says:

    MIchael, Shark,Fern,

    My email is tomzurfluh@comcast.net. Please keep me informed if this discussion moves to another location or if a discussion forum develops elsewhere.

    While I also find some of the name calling and baiting tedious and not very informative in reasoned discusion, I am thrilled to see the many good ideas and the passion the very idea of a multi-faceted discussion forum has brought forth – be it print, e-based, or a combination. Where there is interest and passion, there is hope.


  10. The Shark says:

    in re: Marc Leblanc -thats fine Duncan -I merely suggested you question Marcs involvement in a previous anonymous post -he didnt do it you say- I dont believe I specifically accused him…..but did he know the person who did? Was there any involvement on his part?… given its strong BAS-San Francisco link -its a fair and good question -particulary after and you agreed with me on this, Marc did try behind the scenes to have me blacklisted on BAS in a way that frankly, smacks of McCarthyism- and he also unprovoked, did attack me ad hominem on the site -all reason enough for me to pose a very fair question-

  11. Fine points, Stephen Lee, about the academy. i hope you listen to the interview with me by Duncan which is Episode 170, 2nd following this. I discusssed the academy quickly, as i often had, but made some great observations new to me. I’m planning on stealing them and using them in the future!

  12. That comment is my typical typo self. I meant “but YOU made some great observations new to me” etc. Sheesh. Use the correction possibility, Brandl.

  13. jill peterson says:

    well, did anyone go to guthrie’s talk yesterday? how did it go?
    as a token of friendship and reconciliation, i propose we make today bas staff appreciation day. i beg you all to take a look at richard’s and kathryn’s bios here. especially kathryn’s curating link (she made me rethink what art even is) and the fishes she made (you will find them under “fish”).
    thank you all for any responses to the talk. any video of it? audio? commentary?

  14. jill peterson says:

    i misguided everyone to the art rethink. i should have sent you- after her wedding photo, take the link to her site- “diamond life cafe” and instead of curating, (although i’m sure that’s just as interesting) click on hoax art. to “the show that wasn’t there.”
    but really, tell me about derek’s talk.

  15. Beth Lisick says:

    “do you recall the gay asian San Francisco based performance artist ”

    Shark…still hanging on to the words of my good friend Justin? Stew on my man!

    “something that cannot always be said when it comes to my detractors.”

    You have detractors? Imagine!

    Hugs and kisses sweetie.

  16. The Shark says:

    And you think that its ok for Justin to hide behind and falsely use another artists name to defame and spew his venom of detraction…..which is really all he can do since ‘Justin’ cannot come on BAS or anywhere else using his own name, his own accomplishments including those de-skilled insipid cliches of paintings -because there aren’t any, he has none – only his petty resentments. That and his willingness to act in the way a coward acts.

    his one big accomplishment according to your scenario sweetie, is that he managed to lie about who he was and defame two artists simoultaneously..and you come on BAS bragging about this? You think of this as a triumph: what, a loser. I guess yours is the perfect type of post to label under ‘consider the source-

    and btw if you are so f-ing dumb that you think I sit around and ‘stew’ about this crap – its beyond stupid -into the realm of the sincerely deluded…..I suppose you make the traffic lights change by imagining another color as you ride your hipster cycle through Wicker Park as a way of exercising that mental prowess so vividly on display here.

    I have detractors Beth -even a few that are worth mentioning -some whom I even admire -you don’t qualify in my world despite all of your self-important smarmy smugness- but, enjoy your one claim to fame dear -you exchanged posts with me on BAS -every life should have at least one such moment-

  17. The Shark says:

    and btw Beth -if Justin is indeed only you -the SF artist who you used to defame me-a real person, a real artist -who you identity thefted -should have you in court with a serious lawsuit worth every nickel you make off that silly pulp you churn out–

    Thanks for spilling the beans……guess you just couldn’t help yourself could you? Your just so damned clever, the world needs to know…..


  18. The Shark says:

    Actually what AM! I thinking? I finally do have a detractor thats good looking for a change…….Beth dear, I take it all back…….you can talk smack about me all day long……just keep batting those long eyelashes of your…..you dont have to indentity theft, just be yourself- who knew? so close to shark heaven and didnt have a clue!….. the Shark is smitten ha!

  19. I met Derek & Jane under favorable circumstances when they first came to DC in the 1980’s (I believe). I was showing at Henri Gallery and was the director at Anton Gallery in Capitol Hill. Art writers couldn’t find parking places on the P Street gallery strip or in the 7th Street gallery corridor. So they would come by Anton and hang out and sometimes review our show to boot. Derek came often and we would chat for hours. I had gone to grad school at Notre Dame so the Chicago scene was familiar to me early on. While my work at the time was formal, I had a certain admiration for the irreverence of the Hairy Who. I remember speaking often about that kind of painting to Derek and never once did I get the impression that he had a bone to pick with the Nutt, Brown or whoever. I’m not saying he liked them — he just didn’t seem that interested in discussing it. When June Leaf came to her opening at the Washington Project for the Arts I spent some time with her driving her about before and after the opening. Following that show I spoke at length with Derek and Jane about The Monster School and I don’t think anything negative ever came up. I was showing at Barbara Balking Fine Arts and knew a number of Chicago Artists including, John Himmelfarb, Barry Tinsley, Will & Cynthia Petersen and others — so Derek and I had some common ground to talk about. Perhaps Derek was on good behavior, having just left Chicago and with the problems at the National Endowment to the Arts he seemed more busy with that end of the art world than arguments of the direction of DC Art. The Color School had been born and fled to NYC so what was left was a bunch of formalist wannabes who tied their wagons to Noland, Louis and such in hopes of some kind of coattail slipstreams. I was not in that crowd and considered most of that to be “bank art” and Derek seemed to pretty much agree. Unlike Chicago there was no powerful lobby with a vested interest in some uniquely Washington avant-garde. So no sense of favoritism existed vis-a-vis opposing schools of thought. Derek and Jane were pretty much included in gallery and artist parties and such but I don’t think they regularly hung out in the museum social crowd. Most artist, gallery and museum people I knew welcomed them both to openings and events. They did a lot for the scene in DC and when the Examiner left it was a sad day. The important thing about the NAE was that it gave DC a feeling of a “center” — for something other than politics. Jane was the legitimate critic who on occasion gave endorsement to local artist, helping launch careers (mine included). She was never a mean critic and I can’t remember a single incident of an artist being bashed by her. In addition to writing for the Post, Times and NAE she occasionally wrote for Art in America. Derek’s particular genius was the fact that he could think, argue and write as easily about politics as he could art. The fact is that he really never saw them as different. As an outsider, he could see clearly that politics was the common denominator for absolutely everything (including art) in Washington. I served on panels with Susan Lubowsky at the National Endowment in the fight against Jesse Helms for Franklin Furnace and Highways. I think that while Derek and Jane may have “left” Chicago they had positive intentions in coming “to” DC. The Examiner was the primary watchdog for the Endowment when most of the art mags didn’t give a damn.

    As for money problems and such at NAE — yes of course they always had a shoe-string budget. But when Derek and Jane approach the pearly gates — they may be poor, but they’ll fare far better than the glossies. There was something about the New Art Examiner that even when it was glossy it had the cheap feel of newsprint.

  20. Stephen lee says:

    Mark Staff Brandl,

    Re: Academies- I replied on your blog 170

  21. Gillian Hearst says:

    How does one contact your web site when an episode isn’t downloading? Tried listening to Episode 168 through your site then Itunes to no avail, only error messages. I haven’t had problems with other episodes and would hope that this error can be fixed, because this episode is one of the most important interviews your program has done. Thank you for that.

  22. Richard says:

    e-mail Badatsports@gmail.com. I’ll let the relevant parties know.

  23. Annie Markovich says:

    Hello Fern, Katherine, Derek, Tom Z, Tom N. Stephen, Mark, and John,

    This blog is wonderful and many thanks to the Bad at Sports Team for putting it all together. I thought the interview with Derek was a good start in this ongoing discussion.

    When I worked for the New Art Examiner from 1974-1985 beginning as distribution/circulation manager the scene was much smaller and new to me as I had recently come out of SIU where I didn’t learn much about the artworld in Chicago.

    Derek Guthrie & Jane Addams Allen opened up a world of creative thinking, dialogue, expression and hard work, I felt the grassroots connection of people working together as John Link mentioned because we were all paid the same rate, something Jane Allen believed in, a significant tradition surely from Jane Addams, Chicago’s social worker.

    It was a clear message from the get go that ads did not mean a review and there were many times when I had to remind some gallery owners of this, much to their disapproval. It was well known at that time that ArtNews out of New York did reviews for ads.

    I was lucky to have experienced that chapter in my life as I witnessed dedicated, passionate artists and critics working together, expressing their views without fear and taking the flack when it came back in the form of letters to the editor or social reprisal. Yes, there was a lot of tension surrounding the publication of the NAE along with the heady, feeling of being part of something much bigger than oneself. The NAE pushed artists and writers to grow, think for themselves and create discussion and definition of what was important in Art.

    I left Chicago to work for the NAE in Washington, D.C. when Jane & Derek opened the office at 2718 Ontario Road NW, in the heart of Adams Morgan, a lively, international, politically active, ethnically diverse neighborhood. The arts scene in D.C. was distinctly different from Chicago, it was sophisticated, and had one other art publication the ( I forgot the name) which covered poetry and art. Derek knew in order for the NAE to grow it had to expand outside Chicago and the MW he would say, we have saturated the market and rather than move into NYC, D.C. was the next best place to go, especially as the Endowment was centered there along with the WPA, it was close enough to NYC, Philadelphia and Maryland-also covered in the NAE.

    After five years managing the small D.C. office I moved to NYC whereI Iearned another lesson about the Artworld. Like Chicago, NYC was a hard nut to crack, and most of the artists I met and drew or painted with did not have shows in galleries, provided their day jobs and mine did not de-energize them, there was some time left to make art in the evenings or week-ends. Many artists I knew had to pay thousands for exhibitions in SoHo galleries, selling work was another challenge.

    Today artists are still struggling -more now than ever-in what used to be the center of the artworld. Most of the gallery owners I visited would not even look at cd’s or slides of an artist’s work unless she or he had a professional referral.

    When the NAE was alive, it was distributed in Hudson River News at Grand Central Station, and other specialized outlets. And a few co-operative galleries did advertise. I met several artists there who loved the NAE and were saddened at its demise.

    My experience is what can I say, inexpressible? It wasn’t just the NAE, it was Jane Addams Allen, who taught me how to write about art, she inspired many writers to blossom. Derek was my great painting teacher at NW, where I also had the privilege to meet Tom Zurfluh, a life-long friend.

    Now I am looking at this “new” Chicago which is the same in many ways outlined above, yet there is a lot of energy combined with a sense of right timing that is exciting and creative. Now that the money game has failed globally, who knows, this may be a perfect time to start a New New Art Examiner.

  24. The Shark says:

    I personally doubt that its time to start a New NAE…..I think its looking back- at the same time, things are about to get even more interesting here in that both major newspapers are in serious trouble: if the Tribune goes down there is the end of Alan Artner -and Kevin Nance has already left the Sun Times-

    What will be interesting to watch, is the theater worlds response to all of this. Chris Jones and Hedy Weiss are huge players in the theater scene here unlike our art world, their reviews are important -and can make or break a play locally -in the same way that only a review in the NYTimes can make a play happen on Broadway/ become a national, international success- but recently, Chicago has in many ways become the first city of theater -challenging both London and New York -the rave reviews of our critics here for August Osage County -translated into even more effusive reviews on Broadway -culminating in a virtual sweep for Steppenwolf of this years Tonys -and a triumphant remounting of the play -to further acclamation, now happening in London.

    My question then is this: if the papers fold, what sort of apparatus will be brought into being -in order to keep Jones and Weiss working here promoting Chicago Theater (theater critics here -unlike art critics, actually support and promote the plays they review-)….will it be online? There is enough money in the theater world to pay critics a salary, to set up a serious ezine…….

    I think this thread has raised a whole bunch of interesting questions -for me one of the primary ones -is the leveling effect of the internet….John Link for instance; decent blogger -not a particulary interesting or skilled painter….does this matter? To me it does……it is personal -looking at poor work I cant see how it does not reflect upon its author…..and I am not singling John out for particular gnawing on…but the quality of his work for me has to have some equivalency with the quality of thought going on…..I think this is a common distortion we see on the internet -where everyone has an equal voice -whether earned or not-

    I recently became aware of the work of another ‘artist’s’ ‘work’ I sparred with some time ago on artletter -a Steve Blum….not as an aspersion -but quite frankly, if I had seen the work, I would not have argued with the man -and after having seen it, felt rather foolish having done so….the internet is going to require a resume’ some context and hierarchy if it is to really take on print-

    If artists are going to be writing, discussing aesthetics/ art world politics -whatever, online, the quality of the artists involved is going to matter – in experiencial terms.

    I plan to explore both of these and several other ideas over at sharkforum where I have been on an extended leave of absence-

  25. Michael Workman says:

    Deeana Isaacs wrote an article about all this for the Reader to publish this Thursday. Give it a read, and do come to the event on Dec. 12 at 7:30 pm, on Friday, December 12th, at 1530 N. Paulina Suite F. Free drinks.

  26. The Shark says:

    Michael, I think ressurecting NAE at a time when we see print failing -everywhere -is a fools errand…..I like you and think you are pretty sharp, believe your contribution here has been huge -but not on this one.

    Money spent supporting a few very serious ezine websites -very tied in to analog events on the ground makes so much more sense. I feel that at a time when we really need your great energy here in Chicago -you are not thinking about what the problems are here -and why is it you believe resurrecting an old model will help solve them- I don’t think you are thinking through this very clearly -and I feel it is a waste of your time and talent-

  27. OG says:

    Hey BadatSports, can I post a link to Derek’s interview Episode 168 on his A-B on iTunes U podcast? http://itunes.ab.edu


  28. Kathryn says:

    OG, yes you may. If you have an questions or wish to contact us, please email us at badatsports@gmail.com


  29. Sid Sachs says:

    I found a lot of this dialog insular and crass but also it was amazing to me that there would still be so much of a response. I brought The New Art Examiner to Philadelphia in 1980 and there was an office here for 16 years. It provided a venue for more criticism of art in Philadelphia than had ever been provided before or since. We now have artblog which is an online blog and it tells me a lot about the local scene. But the New Art Examiner put Philadelphia out into the world and it interacted with Washington, Chicago, Ohio etc. We weren’t in it for the money. We just wanted there to be a dialog.

  30. jill peterson says:

    i read your rant about murals, sid sachs. you talk a lot about the insignificance of money?

  31. Ben Sarao says:

    If you consider the dynamics of 1973 to 2009, paper and ink have been replaced by our computers and keyboards. Hopefully, good art will remain as good art. Good art criticism will prevail and the bad or undeserved art criticism will be forgotten in time.

    Galleries open and close. Some people remain on the art stage longer than others and continue to tell other want they believe is true… their truth.

    I remember the NAE as being one of the few art publications that centered on art in Chicago. Unfortunately, the NAE lost it’s mission when it spread it’s focus to other cities. Because, unlike Artforum or Art in America, the NAE from it’s inception was like having a barn with a fire in it. You can put out a small fire and save a barn, and, you can even rebuild one barn. But, when there are several barns in separate cites, it is hard to have a fire starter mentality and not burn out.

    Regarding this blog… it use to be said that you should never fight city hall or argue with people who buy ink by the barrel.

    I like electronic ink better… as long as someone doesn’t pull the plug.

  32. Ben Sarao says:

    ALMOST FORGOT… a little piece of NAE publishing-distribution trivia!

    During the first years that the NAE was published, it was delivered by car to the various outlets by Derek Guthrie and company in the rain, snow or blistering heat of Chicago.

    In the early summer of 1976, Rizzoli International opened a bookstore in Water Tower Place. I was the first magazine manager at Rizzoli Chicago. A small publication distributor, BOB’S News of Hyde Park asked me to carry some of their independent titles and I did. Bob of BOB’S News was usually having issues with the Hudson News Company as he was one of the only competitors in the Chicago news distribution market.

    Several weeks after beginning to receive titles from BOBS News, Derek Guthrie came to Rizzoli and asked if Rizzoli would carry the NAE. I learned that Derek or someone on the NAE staff would bring the papers on a monthly basis. I thought that the NAE delivery mode was ineffective. I suggested that NAE hook up with BOB’S News that delivered independent publications to a wide range of Chicago outlets. Soon thereafter, the NAE was carried by BOB’S News. Several years later when BOB’s News merged (not sure if merged is the correct term) with the Hudson News Company, the NAE had access to national distribution… hence, the multiple city expansion of the NAE and the eventual undoing of Chicago’s NAE enterprise.


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