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20th Anniversary of ART TIMES

ART TIMES Aug, 2003

HARD TO BELIEVE that this issue begins our 20th year of publishing ART TIMES. Looking back at the two-hundred and ten issues of the past nineteen years makes me at one and the same time both humble and proud. Humble because no publishing enterprise such as this can succeed without you, our readers, and you, our steadfast advertising clients — surely without such support we would not — could not — be reaching this milestone. And proud, because back in the spring of 1984, when Cornelia Seckel and I decided to co-found an arts journal, we had no way of knowing whether or not we could survive in a market that, perhaps more than any other, rises or falls largely on the basis of opinion. Back when we put out our first issue, the artworld was a seething nest of "isms," each new trend armed with its vocal advocates, each new group vowing to consign to the past and a well-deserved burial anything that smacked of tradition. And, with each new "movement," it seemed a new arts publication would be introduced — each more glitzy, innovative, hip, celebrity-filled, and well-backed by vested interests than the last. Often, however, many, after their Warholian 15-minutes of fame, seemed destined to be as "buried" as the past they tried so hard to forget. We saw more than a few such arts publications come and go during our tenure — some even coming to us for initial help and ideas which Cornelia always freely gave — most enduring for only as long as the "ism" they touted could hold its own in an ever-shifting market of tastes and opinions. Oh, we were daunted — at least I was. But Cornelia, whose vision created ART TIMES, never wavered, never entertained the thought of failure. We created ART TIMES literally out of nothing. Neither of us had any publishing experience and we certainly never had the fabulous backing that some of the glossies could boast of which, in spite of the hoopla, big-name fame, and money, are now as defunct as many of their more modest contemporaries. Though our business is and has always been solvent, neither of us, after nineteen years of putting out issue after issue, can claim a savings account — and yet, we’ve never felt "poor." Far from it, in fact. We began with the idea that the arts were important and that those who produced quality work ought to get a hearing — or "ink" as they say in the trade. We started out with and maintained what we call the "long" view, taking on writers that had a similar vision, writers who believed that art mattered, and that, in the final analysis, it was quality and not innovation that was worthwhile supporting. We’ve held to that vision, never succumbing to the vanity publication’s resort to "advertorials," never writing reviews for ads, never sacrificing integrity for financial gain. Oh, we knew the game — fluff pieces for advertising dollars — but, for as long as I’ve served as Editor and Art Critic for Cornelia, she has never once tried to influence me as to what articles I might include or as to what artists or art shows I "ought" to cover. Lucky man! Enviable position! We both agree that holding on to those principles certainly has not made us poor for we have immeasurably gained in enlarging our lives through those of you who are so dedicated to the civilizing aspects of culture. We thank all those whose lives and works have added to our pages and again we say thanks to our readers and advertisers, since it is they who have made it possible to bring out each new issue — and this celebration of the beginning of our 20th year is as much theirs as it is ours. Had you not also taken the long view, had not also sought and appreciated quality, had not also supported what we were doing, ART TIMES would have just as surely disappeared from view as did those who rode on the crest of the moment at the expense of neglecting the past. We have readers and subscribers across the US — and even a few abroad in such places as Germany, England, China, France, Africa, Russia, and Ireland — and have long enjoyed the patronage of those advertisers who choose to associate themselves with our commitment, our integrity, and our desire to enlighten, to elevate, and to educate in an area that — despite opinion — can only survive if it recognizes the value of quality. Thank you all for giving us the support and backing to continue in "fighting the good fight."

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