Letter from the Editor

Production still from "William Kentridge: Anything is Possible." © Art21, Inc. 2010.

Production still from William Kentridge: Anything is Possible. © Art21, Inc. 2010.

Welcome to the premiere issue of the Art21 Magazine, the result of a major redesign and rethinking of the Art21 Blog. Art21’s mission for the magazine is the same as its mission for the blog: to serve as an online space for insightful writing on contemporary art and artists.

Available exclusively online, the Art21 Magazine publishes six times per year. Each issue is devoted to a single theme. This inaugural issue, “Becoming an Artist,” was inspired by the words of William Kentridge in Art21’s feature-length film, William Kentridge: Anything is Possible:

“I ended up as an artist. It wasn’t a decision I made. It wasn’t a choice. It was what I was sort of reduced to. There was part of me that only knew I existed if I made some kind of external representation of it on a sheet of paper.”

Kentridge alludes to the mysterious journey to self-discovery, coming to know who or what one wants to be, not by way of a roadmap but through process and practice. In this issue, the contributing writers explore what it means to become, examining the different paths that artists have taken in their careers, as well as some of the artworks and issues that come up along the way.

Rachel Craft, the former editor of the Art21 Blog series “Flash Points,” speaks with four full-time artists about their first jobs. Joy Garnett, our newest columnist, shares her thoughts on artists coming of age alongside what she calls the “vast digital library”  amassed online. Erin Sweeny checks in with the social choreographer Ernesto Pujol about his mobile classroom and the state of graduate-level art education. Jessica Hamlin, Director of the Art21 Educators program, calls for a revolution in K–12 education, addressing a broken system that privileges test taking over creativity. And Cameron Shaw, who inaugurates our re-envisioned residency program, begins by questioning how one becomes anything. These are just a few of the articles we’ll release between now and late November.

With the new magazine also come new features. “Booked” is devoted to art and art-related publications. “Now Playing” delivers sounds from artist’s studios. “Flashback” presents new and old content from Art21’s expansive and ever-growing archive. Under “News,” we will continue to post updates on Art21-featured artists, public programs, and film releases.

Since 2007, Art21 columnists and guest bloggers have published more than 3,330 posts, building a rich collection that is still accessible here and growing with every issue. Check back often.