Jerry Saltz Once Called Artforum Ads ‘the Porn of the Art World.’ A New Show Brings Together Some of the Best—See Them Here

Jan 18, 2022

In a 2014 article for New York magazine, critic Jerry Saltz described Artforum‘s ads as “the porn of the art world.” The glossy promotions comprised around 70 percent of the magazine’s pages. But these weren’t your typical ethereal, aspirational ads for perfume or jewelry. These are ads for art, after all.

Artforum ads are often confrontational, cheeky, even raunchy. They are designed to start a conversation—and some have even earned their own places in art history.

The Brooklyn-based Gallery 98, which specializes in art-world ephemera like announcement cards and gallery posters, recently got ahold of a cache of old Artforum magazines, from which they culled some of the most interesting and emblematic ads over the decades. Now available online to peruse or purchase is a wide swathe from 1970 to 2010 that feature portraits of artists.

The resulting images are a delightful time capsule of different decades in the art market: there’s a then-considerably-less-successful Ed Ruscha in bed with two women, shot by Jerry McMillan in 1967; Judy Chicago’s debut both in Artforum and the broader art world under her new name, in 1970; and an ad for a show of then 25-year-old Dash Snow at Peres Projects two years before he died.

See more selections from Gallery 98 below.

Ed Ruscha, Wedding Announcement (Ed Ruscha Says Goodbye to College Joys), Artforum Advertisement, 1967. Courtesy online Gallery 98.

Absolut Vodka, Nam June Paik, Absolut Paik, Artforum Advertisement, 2002. Courtesy online Gallery 98.

Cindy Sherman, A Play of Selves, Artforum Advertisement, Metro Pictures, 2006. Courtesy online Gallery 98.

Matthew Barney, Cremaster 5, Artforum Advertisement, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, 1997. Courtesy online Gallery 98.

Dash Snow, Artforum Advertisement, Peres Projects Los Angeles, Artforum Advertisement, 2007. Courtesy online Gallery 98.

Judy Chicago, One Woman Show, Artforum Advertisement, Jack Glenn Gallery (California), 1970. Courtesy Gallery 98 online.

Kara Walker, Sikkema Jenkins & Co, Artforum Advertisement, 2006. Courtesy online Gallery 98.