It’s The Art Newspaper’s first quarter century this month
Anna Somers Cocks, Inna Bazhenova and Jane Morris. Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie
Twenty-five years ago the first issue of The Art Newspaper rolled off the press. The idea of a real newspaper for the art world was conceived by the Turin publisher, Umberto Allemandi, with the Giornale dell’Arte, which he has produced since 1983. I saw a copy and knew that the English-speaking world needed it too, so when he asked me to start the international edition for him, I jumped at the chance.
We were just three of us in in one room on Fleet St, and if we had not believed in what we were doing, we would not have put up with the overwork. It was not a sensible way to start a business, but we survived, thrived and editions under licence were born in France, Russia and China.
Then, in 2014, The Art Newspaper and its international licensees were sold to the Russian industrialist and collector, Inna Bazhenova. She has maintained the objectives of the paper, which are to report all relevant news without fear or favour and always to be useful, but also delightful where possible.
This month, we are posting one story a day for every year from 1990 to 2015, chosen for its particular resonance, then and now. We have also asked leading figures in the art world to say what they think art is for in these tormented and frightening times.
That same question will be investigated at the British Museum this 28 October, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in February 2016 and at the Hermitage, St Petersburg, also in 2016.
At the British Museum the investigation will be introduced by its director Neil MacGregor. The witnesses for art will be: Karen Armstrong, author and commentator on comparative religion; John Barrow, cosmologist, physicist, mathematician and playwright; Ben Okri, poet and novelist, and Zaki Nusseibeh, eminence grise behind the cultural policies of Abu Dhabi and advisor to the president of the UAE. Each will talk for 10 minutes and be questioned for another 10 minutes, with a summing up at the end. The “interrogator” will be the well-known barrister Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, who specialises in human rights issues.
The evening will be open to the public (tickets through the British Museum’s events office) as well as an invited audience. The Art Newspaper is grateful to Volkswagen for supporting this celebration.