Survey: Real Life Magazine

Posted August 05, 2010 by Anonymous
Part 1.
Year Founded: 
1c. Organization's annual budget.: 
$0 - $50,000
1b. Primary activity[ies] of the organization.: 
Printed Periodical / Publication
Part 2.
2a. Mission Statement: 
REALLIFE Magazine mission statement(s) From first NEA grant application, 1980. “The purpose of REALIFE Magazine is to provide a forum for the critical discussion of new work by a new generation of artists, along with information about certain older artists whose work seems increasingly important despite the relatively low profile presented by their careers. Few of the artists discussed work with established commercial galleries,, showing their work independently or in any of the so-called Alternate Spaces. Anyone familiar with the current scene knows that there is a tremendous amount of activity at present, but that little of it gets exposure, much less documented or discussed critically. However, if artists are to develop they must work in an atmosphere of serious criticism. It is the purpose of REALLIFE Magazine to provide this. REALLIFE Magazine publishes material by and about artists who have yet to earn the recognition of major magazines. But unlike most other small publications which deal with lesser known artists, it attempts to place the work within a critical discourse, and is not content simply to print a random selection of photographs and drawings. In addition to critical articles the magazine contains interviews and writings by artists (working notes, statements, reviews of other artists and discussions of aspects of cultural life in general).” From the NEA application in 1990. (The next two) issues will continue our investigation of art practices away from the centres of commercial distribution which nevertheless attempt to deal with the realities of living and working in the mass media age. Each issue will be developed around a core theme which will place all the contents within a certain context. Neither issue will be exclusively dedicated to its core theme however. There will be room for other material gathered as a result of the ongoing encounters of the editors with the world. The core theme of 323 concerns media technology and the attempts of various artists to use that technology for grassroots political action. The increased sophistication and availability of computers and video cameras has opened up new possibilities for artistic production and distribution, which in turn has provided artists concerned with social meaning broader scope for their work…”
2b. Organization History / Organizational Overview. Index of important events in organization's history.: 
REALLIFE Magazine historical narrative A The seed for the magazine was planted during numerous late-night discussions about the options open to young artists in New York City in the last few years of the 70s. Gallery support was sparse, and still mostly focused on Post-minimalist strategies. Holly Solomon and Ivan Karp looked at other options, but seemed to favour work with a certain ‘cute’ factor. The short lived Droll/Kolbert offered a moment of hope. Paula Cooper also seemed interesting, but seemed only interested in artists she had been working with for some while. Alternatives like Artists Space and 3 Mercer were open to showing new work, and provided an important service, but could not offer on-going support. Artists Space did provide a place for discussion, however, and REALLIFE magazine developed from that milieu. People involved in these discussions in one way or another included: Thomas Lawson, Susan Morgan, Sherrie Levine, Bill Edmundson, David Salle, Paul McMahon, Helene Winer, Steve Fraccaro, Mike Smith, Barbara Kruger, Robert Longo, Jack Goldstein, Douglas Crimp, Craig Owens, Richard Prince, Walter Robinson. At a slight remove, advice was sought from Dan Graham, Roselee Goldberg, Robert Pincus-Witten, and Rosalind Krauss. Precursor magazines understood as models in one way or another – Avalanche, The Fox, Art-Rite, especially this last. The idea was to provide a forum for our generation, artists talking about and with artists, discussing each other’s work, the work of admired elders, and also speculating on the general culture. Content and context. (Some contemporaries include X, Cover, Bomb, and later, Documents.) The first issue was developed by Thomas Lawson as part of a project funded by Artists Space. It was made possible by Robert Longo’s influence in Buffalo. There was also an attempt to use his production company, Pictures Production, as a conduit for grant applications. Something went amiss with this plan, and the first grant from NYSCA (79/80) was conduited through the Graduate Center of CUNY – this possible because Lawson was a graduate student there and had a sympathetic employer in Ray Ring, the exhibitions director. After this initial year NYSCA funded us directly. The following year we also got funding from the NEA (conduited through Artists Space). We were funded by both agencies throughout the 80s. From first grant proposal to NYSCA, 1979. “REALLIFE Magazine was first developed by Thomas Lawson while working as a NEA funded critic in residence at Artists Space. During these development stages it became clear that enthusiasm for the idea of this kind of magazine was such that it would be possible to publish only a small selection of material contributed or promised. It also became obvious that although budget considerations limited the first issue to activity in New York City, the response to selective canvassing state and nation-wide indicates that, given the opportunity, the magazine could expand its coverage relatively easily.” “In an effort to ensure that the magazine would indeed develop statewide coverage contact was made with hallwalls in Buffalo to discuss the possibilities for producing the magazine at low cost while providing support for local artists. As a result of their cooperation several artist-run businesses in the Buffalo area agreed to collaborate. Deby DeStaffan worked on design and layout, Trade Type did the typesetting and October Graphics the printing and binding. The first issue has twelve pages with seven black and white reproductions. The design is such that each article takes up the space of one or, at most, two pages, with one full page illustration. This format can easily be expanded should more money become available. The projected circulation at the beginning is 1,000.” From Final Report to NEA, Aug 1981. “Those three issues (#s 4,5 and 6) saw an expansion of the magazine, in both page size and number of copies printed. It grew from 28 to 36 pages, allowing contributors more room, and allowing for more contributors. During the same time distribution across the country was improved, with a number of small, professional distributors in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles agreeing to take substantial numbers of the magazine. Individual bookstores in other cities also took it, as did several outlets in Europe. New York distribution remains confined to a handful of important stores in Lower Manhattan. As a result of this wider interest the print run was increased from 1,000 to 1,500.” Budgets were always modest, but we always managed to pay contributors a small fee, although I note that in the first application to NEA I had to submit an amended budget that removed writers fees to conform to rule about how much could be asked for, and production costs took us past that level. The NYSCA grant allowed, actually demanded the payment of the fees, so we were able to keep that up.
2c. Exhibition / Programming / Publishing History.: 
B The magazine always had an aleatory quality – contributions coming from people encountered by Susan and I as we traveled the city, and later the country and Europe. Susan interviewed Bob Moskowitz, Michael Hurson, Steve Gianakos, and William Wegman. I interviewed Stefan Eins and Joe Lewis from Fashion Moda in the Bronx. We published writing by Barbara Kruger, Richard Prince, Allan McCollum, Dan Graham. We published visual work by Jim Welling, Mike Smith, Sherrie Levine. We published writings on David Salle, Cindy Sherman, Jack Goldstein, Matt Mullican, Jeff Wall. In 1981 we were definitely looking beyond Lower Manhattan, with essays on Mike Kelley, a feature on young artists in Stuttgart associated with Tanja Grunert. David Robbins made his debut as a regular contributor. A new generation of artists appeared in our pages – Mark Dion, Group Material, Felix Gonzalez-Torres. When we started print was still controlled by the typesetter, and we worked with a number of eccentric and demanding characters over the years. At some point we began to use a Kaypro ‘portable’ computer for editorial work, replacing a beautiful old IBM Selectric typewriter. In 1984 (!) Deb DeStaffan decided she had had enough of our late-night sessions, and passed the job of designer to a friend, Janet Waegel. Janet was obsessed with this new technological tool, the Mac, and insisted we get with it. We bought a MacPlus and discovered the joys of sending edited text by modem. Janet variously worked at Esquire, Rolling Stone and US, and we used their design offices as our design office over the next six years. During these years we published a number of genuinely important texts : Jeff Wall’s magnum opus on Dan Graham, Kellie Jones’ interview with David Hammons, Adrian Piper’s “Open Letter to Donald Kuspit,” my interview with the then-Florida-based Critical Art Ensemble. In 1990 we published 320, and invited everybody who had contributed or been associated to send in something. An amazing and moving issue. The following year Susan and I moved to Los Angeles, and although we tried to continue, using CalArts as a support mechanism, the impetus was gone. We needed the streets of new York City to make this particular project work. Two more issues were produced, one with Lane Relyea as guest editor looking at other networks, from zines to the fledgling internet, and then we laid the magazine to rest.
Part 3.
3a. Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals:: 
Thomas Lawson
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Susan Morgan
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Janet Waegel
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Deborah DeStaffan unknown
3b. Could any of these individuals assist in providing an oral history of your organization?: 
Part 4.
4a. Is organization currently active?: 
4b. Year activity suspended if no longer active.: 
Part 5.
5a. Type of organization at its founding.: 
Collective / Unincorporated Association
5b. Type of organization currently, or at the termination of activities.: 
Collective / Unincorporated Association
Part 6.
6a. Does the organization have an archive?: 
6b. Are there any short or long-term threats to the organization?: 
None / Not Applicable
6c. Other threats to the organization:: 
The magazine came to a natural end. Some of its purposes continue in Afterall, a journal co-edited by T Lawson and co-published by CalArts and Central St Martins, art school in LA and London respectively.
Part 7.
7a. How important is to the organization to preserve the organization’s historical material. From 1 – Very Important to 5 – Not Important.: 
1. Very Important
7b. Has planning for the preservation and documentation of archive begun?: 
7c. Does the organization know how and where to seek expertise and assistance?: 
7d. Does the organization have specific concerns regarding starting an archive working with its historic materials?: 
Technical Support / Expertise
Part 8.
8a. Is the organization's archives in the collection of another institution or promised to one?: 
8a. Location: 
IF YES to 8: University (Name)
8b. Archival materials are also located at:: 
Where are these locations?: 
Deb and Janet may have material, although I doubt it. Most artwork was returned to the artists. Some contributors may have corrspondence or other material.
Part 9.
9. Does the organization maintain archives for any other organization.: 
Not an organisation, but I have an undocumented collection of exhibition announcements, flyers and brochures form late 70s through mid 80s. Some of it might be of interest to an archive.
Part 10a.
10a. Is the archive accessible to scholars, curators or researchers?: 
Part 10b.
10b. Are there conditions of access for scholars, curators or researchers?: 
Part 10c.
10c. How are arrangements made for access to archive?: 
The archive is in my studio. someone must call or email to make an appointment.
Part 11.
The following questions address the historical materials (type, quantity and storage) of the organization. 11a. Paper Files and Documents: 
Artist Files
Exhibition or Production Files
Financial Records
Legal Documents
Other Paper Files
11b. Artwork and Documentation: 
Prints / Lithographs / Etchings / Screenprints / etc.
Unique Art Objects
Other Artwork. Please describe below.
Some pieces of layout, not much. Edited manuscripts (from the era before Word, when cut and paste really meant cut and paste.
11c. Press and Promotional Materials: 
Announcements, Mailing Cards, etc.
Newspaper / Magazine / Media Clippings
Posters / Flyers
Other Press or Promotional Materials - Please describe below.
trucker caps with the REALLIFE Magazine logo, and perhaps, if it can be found, a nylon jacket with same.
11d. Printed Publications: 
Other Printed Publications - Please describe below.
We have 6 complete sets of the magazine, and numbers of single issues.
11e. Other: 
Other - Please describe below.
some layout materials for press
Part 12.
12. What years does the materials cover?: 
Part 13.
13a. How is the material stored?: 
Banker Boxes
13b. Are some or all of these storage units “archival”?: 
Part 14.
14a. Estimated Number of Boxes or Milk-Crate Sized Storage Units: 
1 - 10
14b. Estimated Number of Archive Drawers: 
14c. Estimated Number of Archive Notebooks: 
14d. Estimated the total Linear Feet. ["Linear Feet" is standard measure of the quantity of archival materials on the basis of shelf space occupied or the length of drawers in vertical files or the thickness of horizontally filed materials. For example, a: 
1 - 10
Part 15.
15. Is the historical materials - or archives - inventoried or catalogued in any way, either formally or otherwise?: 
Part 16.
16a. Is there a key, index or finding aid to the materials inventoried?: 
16b. Paper-based:: 
Not Applicable
16c. Electronic Based:: 
Not Applicable
Part 16 / Electronic Files & Archival Management
16f. Does the organization have a back-up program, or back-up schedule, for its electronic records and perform monitoring of its removable media (i.e. floppies, ZIP disks, CD-ROMs, DVDs, portable hard drives, etc.)?: 
We do not have any electronic files
16g. Who is responsible for working with the archival material?: 
Other - Please describe below.
Please describe: 
Part 17.
17. How are new materials processed?: 
We are not currently processing new material
Part 18.
18. What, if any, conservation methods are in place for both physical materials and electronic data?: 
None or Limited
Part 19.
19. What type of climate-controls are present in the area[s] in which the archives are stored?: 
No or minimal climate controls [i.e. in an attic, basement, unheated / uncooled storage area, etc.]
Part 20.
20a. What are the goals for the historical materials for the next year?: 
scanning all issues to launch on a website
20b. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these short-term goals?: 
20c. What goals are in place for the historical materials for the next three to five years?: 
It would be nice to put them in better order and make them safer
20d. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these long term goals?: 
20e. Are there any additional goals for the organizations historic materials?: 
Eventually we would like to place them somewhere they would be of use to researchers
Part 21.
21. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next year.: 
$1,001 - $2,000
Part 22.
22. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next five years.: 
$5,001 - $7,500
Part 24.
24. What archival issues could / should visual arts organizations address collectively in the next three to five years? Ranked from 1 (highest priority) to 5 (lowest priority).24a. Shared standards / protocols for digitization: 
Promote professional standards / protocols for digitization
Part 25.
25a. Is the organization a member of, or in contact with, any organizations concerned with archival issues?: 
Thomas Lawson
Who executed this survey.: 
Thomas lawson
Is this survey complete and all appropriate questions answered?: