Art Bar

Mar 23, 2005 at 12:00 am

Barely legal – The year 2004 marked the 20th anniversary of Parkett, the invaluable multilingual artists’ publication that adorably positions itself as a “small museum and large library.” To celebrate two decades of nothing less than perfect work, the staff has recently produced the catalog Parkett – 20 Years of Artists’ Collaborations ($39, 248 pp.).

Parkett was founded in Zurich in 1984, by a creative bunch who liked the art they saw on gallery walls but didn’t “get” the explanations within magazines. The group was unified by their commitment to 1) working intimately with artists who hadn’t yet made it big and 2) presenting the results on an independent international platform. Devoting each issue to a single artist, they named it Parkett, a unique spelling for the word describing the seating area of a theater closest to a performance.

In 1988, Parkett opened a New York office, coincidentally, across the hall from Artforum magazine, a daily reminder of the “pseudo-objectivity” they wanted to avoid. The founders were interested in presenting academic and theoretical material, but also in crafting a visually and mentally stimulating mag. The result: fun and thoughtful writing accompanied by gorgeously edgy works of art, often available as limited-edition prints and illustrations.

In 20 Years, readers glimpse the intimate process of creative collaboration. For instance, accompanying her submission, Cindy Sherman writes: “I hope you like it …’cause I’m not so good at design.” And Laurie Anderson signs off with “Lots of Love.” After 20 years, Parkett’s still at it, proving art can be taken personally and that a magazine can be a truly unique art form. For more info, log on to

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