“Once you find yourself in another civilization, you’re forced to examine your own.” —James Baldwin

There is a routine that we perform that encapsulates our 30 years of publishing: we begin working on a particular issue with a set of certain expectations and an editorial overview of the arts that is representative of the moments we are all currently sharing. And then something completely upends focus: the world shifts, the people speak, and the movements change. What you assumed one day is no longer fathomable the next. During the making of this issue, a massive war broke out, and our friends on opposite sides of the conflict each called for peace and understanding, ceasefires, the end to decades and centuries of tension, and just the chance to sit at the same table and make something together. To create something lasting. Which is what art tries to do, right?


So we asked ourselves how we would like to approach this Winter 2024 Quarterly, which is, in fact, the beginning of our 30th anniversary of being an independently owned publication, one that serves an international readership of all sorts of races, religions, genders, passions, and opinions. What do you do when the world is in conflict and turns to art to make sense of a shattered and battered cultural landscape? I think the answer is how we have approached so many moments of civil unrest and political turmoil over the past three decades: show readers that freedom of expression and a focus on the arts are ways of healing and understanding how others live and exist. We examine how people want to be seen and how they desire to create works of art that speak beyond their borders. It provides light where there is darkness and hope where there is a deep absence of confidence. John Berger, who often located the heart of seeing art, wrote once, “I can’t tell you what art does and how it does it, but I know that art has often judged the judges, pleaded revenge to the innocent and shown to the future what the past has suffered, so that it has never been forgotten." This is why we publish, this is why these conversations with artists remain so vital, and why we use this platform to showcase what can be expressed on all levels of the art world, week after week, show after show, genre to genre, medium to medium.

For the first of four 30th anniversary covers this year, we have George Condo to kick us off, ever a master, ever the evocative painter, and interview. When he tells us, “My perspective… is that there is no real meaningful linearity or chronology when it comes to art,” it feels like a familial mission statement. Art isn’t about a linear story or history; it’s broad and evolving, malleable and omnipresent. Shepard Fairey, Olivia Sterling, April Bey, Mike Lee, Jon Key, Lola Gil, and Sarah Lee, the artists we speak to on this anniversary, speak about art as this vital lifeblood of humanity, of time turning in on itself, of finding inspiration in the contemporary, classic, and future at all times in their process. We leave our comfort zones, push to connect, and challenge to find a community and commonality in the expressions of mark-making, even when there is conflict all around us. Art is a collective, permeable history, yours and ours. —Evan Pricco, Editor-in-Chief

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