What if we all spoke our minds? What would happen if writers of art criticism took off their horse blinds and wrote what they really thought? What would the art world be like today? Would we be any closer to discovering truths? Digging down to see what is there in front of us is what the writers of the New Art Examiner do and have been doing over the past four and a half decades, since 1973, fearlessly. Though the magazine has had a strange and unusual history with some interruptions and challenges, it is still very much alive and kicking, ready to take on anyone or any institution in truth and in sincerity. We will not be put down; we will not be put to sleep. Funny, we are even growing, uncomfortable as we may be to the “established” art world.

It is with passion that I write, that I stand up in support of Derek Guthrie, the man who asked me to take his place as Publisher of the magazine he and Jane Addams Allen founded in 1973. However, it is not an adieu for Derek, as he’s taking on a new role, one that he knows how to do best – inspire writers and question their thinking. As Derek says, “we should imagine an art critic as a spy who reports back to the handler what’s going on”; what could be more compelling and exciting?

“The New Art Examiner came from community, existed in community and now the community speaks back as an act of self-empowerment.” We “will add another chapter in the unusual story of the NAE, supporting the idea that wealth is not the only determining factor of art.” (Derek Guthrie, 2012) As I believe in the power of words, these same ideals I transfer to the magazine. How can we reach more readers and leave a meaningful experience in their minds and create the desire for them to examine artworks more carefully and to become involved in what is going on in the visual arts today? How can we turn more readers on to art to make it come alive for them? Derek believes in the saying, “if you stand in the middle of the road you are hit by traffic moving in both directions.” We’re not a middle of the road magazine; we take a stand on issues, and we’re ready to go out on a limb for them. “We are not ARTnews, nor Art in America, nor Art Monthly, and we are not worried about profit, though we probably should be. Our reviews and articles are not ethereal words that are embellished to bore just about any mind, but our writing is read and not left abandoned on coffee tables, nor is it just glanced at superficially on our website. Instead, our over 33,000 readers in the month of May alone (with this trend calculated at around 400,000 a year) are actively reading us from all corners of the world. Take a look at the online map we have, and at any given time of day, it’s possible to find readers from Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Europe and the US, Canada and more. But look at the right website, the real New Art Examiner at: www.newartexaminer.net

I firmly support Derek Guthrie when he says, “Criticism is not only talking about art. It is the sharing of opinion. It may be philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, critical theory, cultural policy, literature, poetry, or polemic but it is a requirement of a civilized and a thinking society.”

Now, I ask you, what are our objectives? Where do we see the New Art Examiner in one year? In five years? I invite you all to comment and to participate in our struggle for truth and to join in our renewed growth. Thank you for reading us and in supporting us in the art world and thank you to our writers for the wonderful work that you do.

Pendery Weekes

6 thoughts on “Editorial

  1. Hi Pendery,
    I really enjoyed reading your editorial, but have a comment to make. Looking at what’s happening in the world, do you think we still have a civilized and thinking society? What can be civilized about selling £6.2 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates? What can be civilized about continuing the war in Afghanistan, or any war for that matter? What can be civilized about 820 million people suffering from famine in the world? What about the environment? And so the list goes on with our being a “civilized and thinking society”.
    As to being a thinking society, I have my doubts on that too. Children are taught not to think today, having overburdened brain circuits, thanks to their electronic devices. If that’s not enough, Ritalin and later, anti-depressants will do the rest to make sure that they do not become thinking adults. Were children to become thinking adults, then we might truly risk having a civilized society; sadly, there is not this risk. Can you imagine what a civilized society might really be like?

    1. Hi James,
      I appreciated your incisive comment. Maybe you can go back and listen to Louis Armstrong’s song, What a Wonderful World, which he recorded in 1970, just a year before he died at age 70. Introducing this song, he said something similar to what you have said here, citing war, hunger and pollution, nearly 50 years ago.
      “Some of you young folks been saying to me, “Hey Pops, what you mean ‘What a wonderful world’? How about all them wars all over the place? You call them wonderful? And how about hunger and pollution? That aint so wonderful either.”
      It’s music, art and literature that contribute to our civilized and thinking society, without forgetting the pain of war, famine and our degrading environment – it’s just we need to give creative people more space to express themselves. I wonder what your creative spirit is.

      1. I just finished a lecture about the future of the body, the human body. It is interesting to know that many intellectuals, corporate interests, philosophers and military planners are quite content to think our body, as we have known it for eons, is essentially over, at least in their view. Fascinating.. as I look at my hands… The proposals for technological assist or replacement as the next step of our evolutionary development, a conscious step in evolution of human being is rather … shall we say, really “there”. So what is art in this light of history afore us –if so much of what is to be human is now in planning to be relegated to a technical or bio-technical supplanting? I mean is art, on the eclipse of human being’s next transformation, an also ran? If we are about to be, shall we say, replaced in the next hundred years, what in the hell are we doing? I gasp!! In short, there is nothing more important to the realm of human being than art to remind us of who we are and what we think and feel and dream. So Pendry Weekes is absolutely correct in saying, rather ironically speaking, how is it that we do not speak our mind about art? How is it we don’t share our opinion about art especially when we need such “reminding” these days, especially in view of the calamity that James so aptly above directs us to. So the New Art Examiner is a dimension of human clarification that is so urgently cried for as we stare into the maw of the future or what it may portend to bring us. Art is not an evangelical cause as much as a human tie-in to history, as rough and tumble as it has been in our bodies and minds. That is why we need to struggle to tell the truth, through the filters and fools. And if we do not get it right, there is certainly the possibility that the process of getting closer to human cultural discourse that is not so packaged, palatabley strategized and otherwise thoroughly processed for human consumption.. although we will, by definition, we never “arrive”…. Think and express, write, read make art and live as we might know it, for those who think we may finally “arrive” are always around us… that is what we seek to avoid and critically engage…. that is why we support and write in the New Art Examiner. As long as someone like James is jarred with the human activity on our woeful planet and as long as Pendry Weekes reads and thinks and hears his [I do too, James..] voice, we all have a stake in art. That fascinates me.

        1. Hello Al in Washington DC,
          Do you really think people will be so stupid to have the brain implants that the news is feeding us at the moment? It would be like the films, What Men Want or What Women Want, where we can hear what the other sex has in mind – it’s ridiculous to think that people would consent to this. See the fun article, The Neural Revolution, that The Guardian published this morning, along with the other fun news about the suspension of parliament for 5 weeks, all part of our daily diet or programmed manipulation.
          Where do you see the visual arts in all this? I see it as flourishing once again, as people rebel against this stupidity of mind invasion.

          1. Hi Peter,
            Can you imagine the art with a brain implant? I mean “imagine”! Artists would just have to think of their artwork and everyone could see what they were imagining, all without the waste and effort – the new movement would be called Effortless Art, also environmentally friendly.

          2. The Neural Revolution would be the end of the white lie with no more hiding behind polite compliments. However, it might also mean that people could honestly transmit what they really thought about overpriced works of art that tend to become worthless in 10 years (or less) time.
            Can you imagine going to an exhibition with a neural implant?

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