Spectre Publics

Dan Quiles in PART:

December 8, 2006: the Democrats have new life—dubious comfort. At Storefront for Art and Architecture in SoHo, in connection with an exhibition of architectural “little magazines” from, as the exhibition puts it, “196x-197x,” October editors Rosalind Krauss, Yve-Alain Bois, and Hal Foster improvise short talks about their participation in the journals October and (in Bois’ case) Macula. I was there with what seemed to be every single person involved in art in New York who had not journeyed down to Art Basel Miami Beach. We crowded into the miniscule space standing up, as though at a rock concert, the proverbial “choir” in all its glory, the latest incarnation of a public or set of publics that first emerged during the exhibition’s ambiguous time frame. Krauss, clearly bemused by the turnout, spoke very briefly. She repeatedly noted that the editors at Artforum “all hated each other” prior to her and Annette Michelson’s departure from the glossy commercial magazine to form the iconoclastic October, and recalled the well-known fact that the warring was between the “social possibilities” of art criticism and history versus “formalism” (one which used poststructuralist theory to decipher aesthetic experience). Bois gave a very short history of his journal Macula as a site for translation of various texts, and offered the DIY encouragement that “if you’re going to start a journal, you don’t need money. You just need a printer who will agreed to be paid back after six months or so.”