Assessing NAE’s Growth in 2016

I write this Publisher’s Editorial towards the end of December 2016 looking forward to escaping the cold of Chicago and to seek a kinder environment in Cornwall UK, and also to work with the UK team. Chicago is not known for its generosity of spirit. It is a hard culture. Yet the New Art Examiner survived, died and revived in spite of the parochialism of the Second City. Its revival in its birthplace is well underway.

The New Art Examiner is currently in the pro- cess of putting down new roots and gathering new energy. Our Christmas party organized by the new Chairman, Michael Ramstedt, gave evidence of this new momentum. Guests were welcomed, and new writers, new friends, and old friends con- gregated and shared food and drink with much chatter. They shared in the excitement of art talk and art criticism again functioning in Chicago. The transition to a younger generation is well in order. In this, the New Art Examiner renews itself without sacrificing its traditional ethical code.

We live in uncertain times. The general art scene in Chicago is not happy. But was any art scene happy in the Western World in the year 2016? A sense of brooding pessimism is strong in the Second City where many new and recent initiatives are fading, as the not-for-profit sector weakens and grant money diminishes. Private galleries are facing a difficult market as art fairs and auctions are changing the patterns of the marketplace. The optimism of the 80s and 90s has become stale and middle aged. The promise of the avant garde now seems thin, wilted and wearing out. This perception is more than well explained by Jorge Benitez’ essay, The Illusion of Progress, in this current issue.

The New Art Examiner has to say goodbye to Tom Mullaney because Tom has less free time to volunteer his services as US Editor. Tom Mul- laney led the Chicago group in our darkest days into our revival. The NAE has a long history of 43 years which tells a remarkable story in which volunteerism was the bedrock that produced an important critical art journal that competed on the national stage with the well funded New York art magazines. The established cognoscente of Chicago could not and even today can not come to terms with this reality. Tom Mullaney as US Editor kept the faith and respected the creative essence of the NAE. We are also blessed with

another unsung hero, Michel Ségard, a veteran board member, who has stepped forward and assumed the arduous duties of designer and Associate Publisher. We are also strengthing and recruiting new editorial resources as well as our support.

The New Art Examiner offers an opportunity for creative speculation and professional expe- rience to all aspiring art writers, leaving aside the burden of political correctness—an increas- ing weight, in the opinion of this writer, which is squeezing the life out of American culture.

So I return to the UK feeling gratified as the New Art Examiner in Chicago is now secure. Support is increasing as at last some major authorites now realise Chicago cannot reach its desired status of becoming a major art centre without a critical journal of substance.

Derek Guthrie, Publisher

Volume 31 number 3, January / February 2017 pp 8

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