Michael Maranda



483 single softcover issues
each 21x21cm, varying page counts
6 summary hardcover volumes
each 17.8 x 17.8 cm, 100 pages each
177 watercolour paintings
each 25.4 x 38 cm

statement .  .  .

ARTFORUMx is a tripartite project. The trailing ‘x’ of the title evokes a mathematical equation, standing in for a factor, or constant, by which the magazine has been either reduced or explained. As such, the function ‘x’ references a data-driven quantitative research project in the social sciences more than a visual analysis.

ARTFORUMx in fact does delineate the history of Artforum in visual form, with a particular focus on the number and size of advertisements that have appeared in the magazine over the years. Each issue has been catalogued and reproduced with red rectangles standing in for content and black rectangles for advertisements. Reminiscent equally of constructivist graphic experiments and minimalist visual art, the resulting books are reduced to the base level of the economics of publishing, reflecting the ebb and flow of the market, art or otherwise, over the last 48 years.

The first part of the project consists of reprints of each issue of Artforum (up to and including volume 48), scaled to 8.25 inch square (the original trim is 10.25). The cover identifies which issue is being reproduced, while the cover graphic illustrates the ratio of content to advertising found in each issue. Placed on a single-level bookshelf, these 483 issues measure approximately 22 feet (6.7 meters) long. As each spine incorporates the cover graph, a view of the front of the shelf provides a quick snapshot of the growth not only of the size of the magazine but the relative advertisement to content ratio as well. The volumes are intended to be ‘read’ by viewers, and thus are accessible to hand, not presented behind glass.

The second part of the project consists of six hardcover summary volumes, each 7 inch square and ~100 pages long. The first five volumes present reductions of each issue to a grid of red and black squares on a single page, essentially a page plan of that issue. The sixth volume is an extended bar-chart of the contents of the magazines along with a representation of the contemporaneous rise and fall of the Dow Jones Composite Index.

The third part of the project is a foil of sorts, allowing for the introduction of the first two parts into an exhibition context. Here, 177 spreads of the March 2007 issue are rendered, perversely, in watercolour with the already introduced schema of red and black squares. Measuring 10 x 15 inches each, they are mounted on a single wall in grid form, evoking at first sight minimalist paintings. In fact, the result is a large page plan for a single issue of the magazine.

exhibitions .  .  .


•  Solo. “ARTFORUMx,” Artexte, Montréal (February)


•  Solo. “ARTFORUMx,” New York Art Book Fair Special Project Space, New York

•  Group. “Unbound,” Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax NS, curated by Peter Dykhuis

•  Solo. “ARTFORUMx,”Art Metropole, Toronto