Art + Culture

Will ‘ARTnews’ and ‘Art in America’ disappear as print journals? Will 'ARTnews' and 'Art in America' disappear as print journals?

Jay Penske, new owner of 'ARTnews' and 'Art in America', here with Devon Aoki (undated photo)
Jay Penske, new owner of 'ARTnews' and 'Art in America', here with Devon Aoki (undated photo)

Peter Brant, famous art collector, sold his magazines ‘ARTnews’ and ‘Art in America’ to Jay Penske for about US$ 20-25 million.

That may result into
a) a fusion of ARTnews + AiA towards one art journal (with a new name?),
b) changing the print magazines into web-magazines,
as ‘Penske Media’ describes itself as a “leading digital media company committed to investing in legacy media brands and evolving their strategies for today’s competitive digital media landscape.”
PMC is a constellation of global media brands fueled by remarkable content across our digital, video, print, and event properties.
11175 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, California


Time will tell, but personally I’m very much concerned about the future of these two traditional art magazines from the U.S., as Mr. Penske (39) obviously lacks the know-how about the global art world. Penske’s personal interest in ‘glamour’ à la Hollywood makes current global art players/operators wonder, why on earth the editors of these two important magazines have to suffer under such a person without art-connoisseurship.

Besides, why did Jay Penske sell a stake of his company to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, this February 2018? No profit or lack of cash flow?
Actually, because of the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, most U.S. companies are cutting off their ties with Saudia Arabia.
The politically sensitive art world will not be amused by Penske Media’s status quo.

Penske Media’s appearance on twitter and Facebook doesn’t look very promising.
And let’s not forget, that Peter Brant’s magazine ‘Interview’ went bankrupt this May 2018.

Press release:

Content and editorial excellence are at the core of PMC’s strategy, and the company has extensive aspirations in scaling ARTnews’ and Art in America’s data and subscription offerings.
(read: streamlining the data for readers (= identical audience))

With this acquisition, PMC is now the largest employer of art journalists in the world.
(read: some art journalists can be ‘socialized’ (= fired))

Opportunities made available by this acquisition include the creation of a data and analytics business; a B2B events business, with expected collaboration across other PMC brands; and an augmentation to digital strategy that will increase brand audiences.
(read: ‘contemporary art’ will be used for “digital product branding” (= BS))

Art in America

ARTnews の「トップ200コレクターズ」」2018

up-date 2019/7/14
Penske Media Corporation Acquires Art Market Monitor
BY The Editors of ARTnews POSTED 07/12/19

PMC acquired ARTnews and Art in America in 2018. Other publications in its portfolio include Variety, WWD, Robb Report, Rolling Stone, and Indiewire.

Penske’s letter announcing the news follows below.

Dear Team,
I’m excited to share with you that PMC is acquiring Art Market Monitor, the leading authority on art market analysis, pricing, and trends. Art Market Monitor has an intensive readership within the gallery, auction house, legal, banking and asset management communities. The addition of Art Market Monitor to our previous acquisitions of ARTnews and Art in America further expands our investment in the category.
In the art world, where a significantly fragmented audience spans so many websites, newsletters, and brands, PMC sees the opportunity to augment these exceptional brands with further investments in content and editorial, complemented by robust data and analytic tools, and growing an engaging live media and event business. This acquisition adds a strong subscription business that expands PMC’s reach and influence in the art vertical.
As part of the acquisition, Art Market Monitor’s principal Marion Maneker will join PMC’s Art Media Holdings business as Editorial Director, where he will be working closely with our existing ARTnews and Art in America properties to continue to grow and expand PMC’s presence in the art business. Featured often on NPR and CNBC as a leading expert on the art market, Marion has over 20 years of editorial and publishing experience with companies like Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, and leading publications such as New York Magazine, the New York Sun, and Slate. We are pleased to have Marion join our talented team at Art Media Holdings and look forward to his valued contributions to building our art media business.
I would also like to announce that Victoria Hopper, the President and CEO of AMH, will be leaving AMH to pursue other opportunities. I would like to thank Victoria for everything she has done over the last five years to lead Art Media Holdings and we wish her the best in her future endeavors.
With great excitement for all that’s to come,

full text:

up-date 2021/1/20

The Year 2021. Still Symptomatic For New York’s Art Scene: Taking Drugs.

up-date 2022/12/8

December 07, 2022 at 12:15pm

Penske Media Acquires Leading Art Magazine Artforum
BY THE EDITORS OF ARTNEWS, December 7, 2022 12:15pm
Penske Media Corporation has acquired Artforum magazine, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

PMC is the parent company of ARTnews and Art in America, as well as more than 20 other media brands, including Variety, Rolling Stone, Billboard, and WWD.

“Artforum’s quality and authority in the art world is unparalleled,” said Penske Media Chairman and CEO Jay Penske. “Over the last 60 years, they have built a culture- and genre-defining brand known around the world, with one of the few insightful global perspectives on art. I have great admiration for the hard work Tony, Danielle, Kate, and David have done to make Artforum such a success. I look forward to a bright future with this very talented team.”

Artforum bought by Jay Penske 2022
Artforum bought by Jay Penske 2022

up-date 2023/5/10

Sophia Penske

Gagosian Art Advisory hires LA–Based Curator Sophia Penske. The art advisory, launched by the mega-gallery in 2019, hired Penske fresh off her recent partnership with PhillipsX on the exhibition “L.A. Woman.” She is the granddaughter of billionaire Roger Penske and niece to publisher Jay Penske.

up-date 2023/12/9

Bruised by war-related boycott, Artforum seeks a reset

artforum december 2023, the year in review
artforum, december 2023, the year in review

NEW YORK, NY.- A skeleton crew of editors needed to take a hacksaw through the December issue of Artforum magazine. There were only a few weeks between the sudden firing of its editor-in-chief and a print deadline for the glossy’s annual “Year in Review” issue.

The fallout had been swift when Artforum’s owner fired the editor, David Velasco, after the magazine published an open letter about the Israel-Hamas war that supported Palestinian liberation and initially omitted mention of the victims of the Hamas attack on Oct. 7.

At least six members of the editorial team resigned and nearly 600 writers signed letters boycotting the magazine and its sister publications, including ARTnews and Art in America. Regular contributors such as critic Jennifer Krasinski and art historian Claire Bishop requested to have their articles pulled from the December issue. Others such as filmmaker John Waters, curator Meg Onli and artist Gordon Hall also withdrew their writing.

The “Year in Review” issue that has begun arriving to subscribers is a week later than usual and noticeably slimmer. At 150 pages of articles and advertisements, it is about one-third smaller than last December’s 224-page issue.

“There is a before and there is an after in the art world,” said art historian Julia Bryan-Wilson, who wrote last month’s cover story on artist Sam Gilliam and said she would no longer contribute to Artforum. “That is how stark the discourse feels after the magazine fired David.”

Hall said the firing was an astonishing betrayal of the art world’s values.

“We may disagree or misunderstand each other,” Hall said, “but we collectively value the ability to express ourselves without risking professional punishment, silencing or shunning.”

As the art world continues to splinter over questions of how to equitably address Israeli and Palestinian suffering, Artforum, which has about 30,000 print subscribers and gets about 8.3 million page views annually, is attempting to hit the reset button.

“We have lost a number of valued colleagues whose talents have been made manifest in our pages and platforms,” publishers Danielle McConnell and Kate Koza wrote in a note in the December issue. “We have been given reason to reflect on and confront Artforum’s role in times of humanitarian crisis.”

Jay Penske, CEO of Penske Media, which owns the magazine and others including Rolling Stone and Variety, also published a statement in the issue, saying that Velasco’s departure had been misinterpreted as the suppression of speech.

“Artforum has a proud history of advocacy and is a platform that inspires debate and discourse,” Penske wrote. “This will never cease under our ownership.”

To Velasco, Artforum’s response is lacking. “Penske Media is underestimating Artforum’s readership if they think these nonexplanations will restore faith in the magazine’s credibility,” Velasco said.

Established in 1962, Artforum became a mouthpiece for the intellectuals who shaped American postwar art into a cultural force. The magazine’s direction shifted as its editorial leadership did, but it typically hired artists for exclusive projects and supplemented its subscriber income with advertisements from the galleries reviewed in its pages.

Velasco, who joined the magazine nearly two decades ago, assumed the top leadership role in 2017 with a plan to restore its reputation after its longtime publisher, Knight Landesman, was accused of sexual harassment. As part of that effort, Artforum published essays that helped signal the art world’s shifting relationship with its patrons.

A 2018 project by photographer Nan Goldin highlighted the role of the Sackler family in the opioid epidemic, which has resulted in the family’s name being wiped from museum galleries around the world. A year later, an essay by writers Hannah Black, Tobi Haslett and Ciarán Finlayson described the 2019 Whitney Biennial as “The Tear Gas Biennial” because of a trustee’s relationship with the defense industry. That trustee, Warren Kanders, later resigned from the museum board.

But the open letter that Artforum published about the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 19, which called for an immediate cease-fire, resulted in significant blowback for the magazine itself. Some large galleries, including David Zwirner, said they would pull advertisements from the publication, and other groups such as the Chanel culture fund threatened to withdraw their support, according to four magazine employees.

The letter, which Velasco signed, originated with nearly a dozen artists and scholars primarily based in Britain.

Accusations of censorship in the art world have continued, with curators and artists saying that they have lost jobs and exhibitions for supporting Palestinian causes.

Indigenous curator Wanda Nanibush left her position at the Art Gallery of Ontario after outside activists accused her of “posting inflammatory, inaccurate rants against Israel.”

Artist Candice Breitz had an exhibition canceled in Germany, where officials at the Saarland Museum in Saarbrücken said they would not show works by anyone “who does not clearly recognize Hamas’ terror as a rupture of civilization.” Breitz, who is Jewish and has criticized Israel on social media, said she had condemned Hamas’ actions “loudly and unequivocally.”

And the entire selection panel charged with finding the next curator of Documenta, a global exhibition of art scheduled for 2027, resigned after disputes with administrators related to the Israel-Hamas war.

Bishop said free speech was being stifled in the art world, pointing to the response to the open letter in Artforum.

“This letter — which has been followed by countless others — is like a head on a pike, standing as a warning to other art workers who might dare to criticize Israel,” she said.

The disagreement about who is to blame in the Artforum controversy has extended outside the magazine’s pages. It has been cited at pro-Palestinian protests throughout New York, which have targeted the American Museum of Natural History and the New York Public Library at Bryant Park, where officials said that demonstrators caused nearly $75,000 worth of damage to its facade.

This week, gallerists Dominique Lévy, Brett Gorvy and Amalia Dayan said their storefront was vandalized with a fake apology by the dealers, who had published a response condemning the Artforum open letter “for its one-sided view.”

After Penske Media acquired Artforum last year, it had plans to further monetize the publication’s reputation. Four former employees said the company was planning events to coincide with major art fairs such as Frieze New York, where editors would lead gallery tours. There was also a discussion about selecting an artist to design the crystal ball that drops in Times Square during the New Year’s Eve celebration run by Penske Media. (A spokesperson for Penske Media said there were not plans for such events.)

But the magazine’s future is now in flux.

A majority of the authors featured in November’s issue are still boycotting Artforum. The masthead in the December issue includes at least one researcher who had resigned before publication.–Artforum-seeks-a-reset