The vacuum in which artists have struggled for years is now being filled by a host of political and economic organizations striving to create a stronger representation and voice for all artists everywhere. This is almost a grass roots movement amongst artists to take control over their destinies in the econo/political facets of capitalist society. The days of the artist as a faceless and voiceless pawn of galleries, museums, grant organizations and art marketplaces is slowly coming to a close. Instead of being controlled and manipulated by outsiders, the new artists’ movement is filling in the void left by entrepreneurs who no longer can make profits off art, or artists are slowly pushing entrepreneurs out of art. Two good examples are the formation of the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art to replace the Pasadena Museum of Art’s dying contemporary art program, and the formation of the L.A. Center for Photographic Studies to organize a showcase for Los Angeles photographic talent.
You might say that art is discovering itself as an alternative to the established way of things (a concept accepted more as a philosophy than reality). Because of an establishment of rip-offs in housing and galleries in New York City, artists there are unionizing to protect themselves (the Foundation for the Community of Artists). Instead of maintaining the normal means of production of art through established “art houses,” artists are setting up co-op lithographic studios and co-op silkscreen studios. And artists, along with professional people, are forming self-help groups, such as Artists for Economic Action, Artists Equity, and Lawyers for the Arts.
Two similar movements in the past decade parallel this artists’ movement. The alternative work/living/education movement, with new schools, new jobs, new life-styles and goals, started in the mid-sixties and is now tied together in a nationwide network of Vocations for Social Change centers, tonal communities, research centers, work projects, magazines and newspapers. The alternative communications network also sprang up during this last decade, with the rise of “underground” newspapers and journals, news syndicates emphasizing alternative information, and the phenomenal of small publishing firms specializing in the new literature.
One of the goals of INTERMEDIA is to link the new art movement with these other alternative movements – to create a unified alternative force of artists, writers, workers, and radicals that will somehow change or alter the path of the current entropic system. We want INTERMEDIA to be by and for artists, to be a forum for artists’ concerns and needs, to be a mode of interdisciplinary communications between the artist and the alternative learning people, radicals, communicators, and especially a mode of communication between artists of different media – between photographers and sculptors, film-makers and poets, dancers and video people, musicians and theatre people.
We want INTERMEDIA to be a medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and concepts; for the creation of controversy; for a platform to answer “ignorant” critics, reviewers, and art-mongers; we want INTERMEDIA to be a forum for new ideas and philosophies, manifestoes and statements; to print things otherwise unpublishable; to cover aspects of art not covered by newspapers and journals; to provide services and resources to artists. We will print articles, reviews, information, evaluations, listings, opinions, criticisms, surveys, free classified ads, job information, and legal and health advice. Some of the material may seem self-serving or amateurish but, after all the years of listening to others tell you what is right, it sometimes is difficult to find your own, clear voice. We will print most anything if it is fairly-well written and intelligent, if it offers something to others. We will edit for grammar and spelling, and in some cases, length (but never to shorten a thought).
Thus, in this issue, a beginning. You will find articles on poetry, dance and photography in Los Angeles, several pages on Dada and performance art, and a large resource section to art groups and alternatives. Some ideas of what we would like to see here: a survey of artists’ problems, needs and wants; listings of possible shared services; special sections devoted exclusively to one art form, with articles by critics and reviewers side by side with articles by the artists concerned; articles about the responsibilities and roles of critics and reviewers; and product discounts for artists.
INTERMEDIA is not closed to anyone who has ideas – or to anyone who has a gripe or a comment to make. INTERMEDIA is a sharing of ideas, an open conversation — a seed of something new.
INTERMEDIA is what you make of it. We need articles, reviews, resource listings, graphic artwork, design and lay-out help, museum and gallery evaluations, etc. etc. Pages 29 and 30 contain some questionnaires for surveys of artists’ services, for group listings, classified ads, and comments and criticisms. Please let us hear from you.