It is with mixed feelings that I write my final letter as the editor of Magenta, or as we affectionately call it, ‘Mag Mag’. When I was approached by the Magenta Foundation to help re-start the magazine as an online concern, I jumped at the opportunity. Although I was working full-time for a government agency, my heart was in art and my professional background originally in publishing. Taking on the editorship of Magenta was the perfect way to support a community that I loved (still do!), provide opportunities to writers, put my publishing experience to use and initiate something new. I told myself that I’d give it two years, and then assess where the magazine, and I, were at.
EIGHT years later… where did the time go?!… Magenta has grown from a small publication with a mainly Canadian audience to one with global reach and content. (I can remember reading the analytics at the end of 2014 and being amazed that the magazine was being accessed by readers from as far away as Germany and Australia!) The first issues were somehow cobbled together by me and a small, but dedicated, band of writers who wanted to see something different get off the ground. After two years, we were able to start paying writers a little something and, as the content and quality of the publication grew, so did the readership and the willingness of international artists like Rodney Graham, Hito Steyerl, Kay Rosen, Steve Reinke and Thomas Struth to take time out of their busy schedules to speak with us.
The content of Magenta has largely been writer-driven. Within the last four years, only occasionally did I feel the need to assign something to a writer. I am proud of the diverse voices that have been featured in the magazine. Because of the many insightful and engaged writers who have contributed their points of view, Magenta‘s content has often felt forward-thinking, ahead of the curve and inclusive, giving exposure to a wide range of Canadian and international artists and exhibition spaces and, I hope, fostering ideas around gender and cultural parity within the art world. The writers have opened my eyes and mind to different ways of seeing and thinking about art, and I hope they’ve done the same for you.
This is not the end, however! We are currently negotiating with a new editor who we’re really excited about. Watch for the announcement of who will be assuming editorship of the magazine in the coming weeks on the Foundation’s social media platforms.
There are far too many people to thank individually here, but Maryann Camilleri, Craig D’Arville and Ben Bruneau deserve singling out: Maryann and Craig for approaching me with this opportunity in the first place, and Ben for coming on board as the reviews editor at a time when the demands were such that I could no longer manage it all myself. The last several issues of Magenta wouldn’t have happened without him.
And, of course, it wouldn’t have happened without you, dear readers! I hope that you’ll continue to follow the magazine as it enters a new chapter.
Bill Clarke was the Executive Editor of Magenta Magazine Online from its inception in September 2009 until May 2017. His writing has been published in Modern Painters, Art Review, Canadian Art, Artnews and several other publications. In January 2017, he assumed the position of associate director at Angell Gallery in Toronto.
The Office of Gilbert Li