New American Paintings is a magazine of Juried Exhibitions in Print which is published six times a year.
New American Paintings falls in that strange twilight territory of most art magazines, in that it is often mistaken for a book, but it's really more of a magazine than a book. New American Paintings could pass for coffee table material -- it's production values are high -- and you'll definitely want to save them for reference later. Suffice to say it's a magazine you positively won't be throwing out, given the price. New American Paintings can be purchased on most good newsstands, and it's usually filed with the Arts magazines such as Art in America, or Art News, but then again, depending on where I shop, I've seen it shelved in strange places, such as mixed in with the regional travel magazines at Barnes & Noble. Maybe it has something to do with the unusual square format of the publication, 10x10 inches, or the publication schedule, but I can't quite explain it. New American Paintings is published six times a year. There is one issue published each year for each of six regions in the country, those regions being: Northeastern, Mid-Atlantic, Southern, Midwestern, Western, and Pacific Coast. Given that the magazine is a showcase for individual artists, that all contributors work in different mediums, and that all persons featured create in a diverse array of styles, I'm not exactly sure I can say I enjoy the visual art of an artist from one part of the country more than another, but it is useful to understand that The Open Studio Press publishes in this manner due to the juried contests that determine its content. Steven T. Zevitas and The Open Studio Press have been publishing New American Paintings since 1993, and it is one of only a handful of art magazines with any kind of national stature. New American Paintings has pages that are slick, with a lot of white space to frame the art reproductions, and it's published bi-monthly. New American Paintings also has a hefty page count, and little adverti
sing to speak of. Using that description, your brain wants to says magazine, but some bookstores classify it as a book. I'm not sure why. The issue that I'm holding in my hand, No. 38, showcases the art of 40 different artists from the Northeast and consists of 175+ pages. The format is consistent and straightforward, in that each artist gets three pages dedicated to their work and one page dedicated to their personal details such as where they went to school, who they've studied with, where they've exhibited, what kind of awards they've won, what collections they've made it into, etc. Each artist also gets to make a personal statement about their work, and no matter if these remarks are long or short, they offer great insight into the featured paintings or the personalities of the artists. The black and white photos of the artists are especially enjoyable, in that when one views art in a gallery or on a museum wall, it is often easy to forget that there is a person behind the art that we are divorced from knowing, and all we see is the product of their mind. A real test of a great magazine, is if the information contained therein can be referenced elsewhere and lead you to a larger pool of knowledge. What I like to do with this particular magazine, is to plug in the "name of the artist" and the word "painting" on Google, and see what kind of results I get back. I found three good websites tonight by doing just that. Those sites were: dumboartscenter.org, thenewyorkartworld.com, and massart.edu. In this issue, I've also found visual art that I would be happy to hang on my own walls at home. And in fact I'd encourage you to do exactly that -- just take the book/azine down to any printing company with a good color copier, make some enlargements, and then presto! You have your own inexpensive set of prints suitable for matting, framing, and home decoration. Three artists of
note represented in the current issue of New American Paintings are Janice Caswell, Danette English, and Soon Ae Tark. I even emailed one of these artists and they were kind enough to respond back. New American Paintings is a pleasant afternoon read, and if you peruse it on a regular basis, you are actually in danger of learning something. As a writing exercise, I would encourage you to pick up an issue, select a painting, and try to write the story of the painting -- you should be able to get some phenomenal results with that. Also, you might select two different paintings by two different artists, and write the bridge story that carries you from one image to another -- an interesting writing exercise to say the least. Aside from the slightly steep cost of subscribing to this publication, I think you might highly enjoy New American Paintings.