Earlier this week, Hol Art Books, a publisher in Tuscon, Arizona, created what it called a “bootleg” version of Artforum‘s summer issue, with all of the articles and none of the advertisements. Two days later, it was hit with a cease-and-desist letter from Artforum‘s lawyers, who alleged copyright infringement: no more bootleg Artforum.
The idea of an ad-free Artforum frightened The Observer. We thought that the ads were central to the experience of the magazine. Seriously. In a contemporary art world with thousands of galleries scattered around the world, our only interaction with most shows is through their Artforum ads.
Above, our five favorite ads from its summer issue. (Note that we have disqualified Zurich-based dealer Bruno Bischofberger since the pastoral photographs of rural Swiss life that he uses for each of his back-cover ads are masters of the form, beyond critique.)