For a contemporary art magazine to publish 300 issues over 30 years is a rather impressive output. For Art Monthly Australasia, these numbers have now become a reality. In celebration of the dual milestones, the Art Monthly team is reflecting upon the front covers that have helped define the magazine’s place within Australian art and publishing.
Brought to Australian shores in 1987 by English editor and sinologist Peter Townsend, Art Monthly has consistently remained a staple publication within Australian art. Based at the ANU School of Art and Design in Canberra since 1992, the Art Monthly team are celebrating their publishing milestone with an exhibition at the ANU School of Art Gallery.
Simply titled 300 covers: Art Monthly in Australia 1987-2017, the show will display Art Monthly’s entire front cover archive alongside newly commissioned works and curated content. The display will also bring together the magazine’s five surviving editors – Peter Timms, Philippa Kelly, Deborah Clark, Maurice O’Riordan and Michael Fitzgerald – who have each selected their three favourite covers.
This includes Peter Timms’s March 1997 issue which revealed that Aboriginal artist Eddie Burrup was the invention of Elizabeth Durac. Not to mention Maurice O’Riordan’s July 2008 issue, which rose to fame for featuring Bill Henson’s naked photograph of then six-year-old Olympia Nelson. In wake of the ongoing Henson affair, the issue was pulled from Australian shelves and eventually given an ‘M’ rating.