More than a Magazine

One of my favorite things about working in LACMA’s research library is getting to share and showcase our treasures—everything from artists’ books and scarce first editions to surrealist ephemera and out-of-print periodicals. One of these rarities is a complete run of the magnificent magazine Art/Life. Conceived, compiled, and edited for twenty-five years by Joe Cardella, Art/Life truly must be seen to be believed.

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Images of the celebratory 200th issue of Art/Life

Art/Life is so much more than your typical art magazine. Envisioned by Cardella to be a sharing mechanism for artists, Art/Life is exactly that. Artists and poets wanting to participate in this cultural exchange created multiples of their contributions, signed and numbered them, and sent them out to sunny California to be ordered and assembled. Each of the 276 monthly volumes—published from 1981 to 2005—is a unique work of art: hand-made, hand-numbered, hand-bound. I didn’t believe it at first, but every single edition of every single volume is an original.

This full run of Art/Life, formerly part of a private collection, was generously donated to the library in 2009. We were thrilled when we saw what a treasure trove this publication is; so thrilled, in fact, that we decided we had to share it. We’ve permanently moved Art/Life from the Special Collections room to display cabinets in the reading room for your viewing pleasure. Just email us to schedule an appointment to come in and see it up close.

Maggie Hanson, Stacks Manager, Balch Research Library

9 Responses to More than a Magazine

  1. I think this is great and maybe on my next visit to LA, I will just stop by and i have a look at these beautiful treasures.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Egmont

  2. robert hanson says:

    thanks for sharing! a treasure indeed

  3. robert hanson says:

    p.s. this is the sort of thing that a museun/library should be sharing

  4. maureen davidson says:

    So glad that LACMA nabbed the whole collection, this is indeed a treasure for the ages.

  5. Barbara Smeltzer says:

    I am quite familiar with these works of art and encourage all to visit and view them. They are inspiring!

  6. Andy RZ says:

    Fantastic.
    What a wonder to see the journey that our lives take and the where the river flows.
    Glad to see that LACMA is realizing the treasures they have and is sharing them with
    the world.

  7. Truly a goldmine of creative energy and a labor of love.
    – Thank you Joe
    – Thank you LACMA

  8. Michael Row says:

    As a contributor and collation assistant through much of Art/Life’s long life, I am delighted that the public will have this opportunity to visit this collection.

  9. Karen Fulks says:

    I am so excited that LACMA has these in their possession and that they will be shared. This is an amazing collection!

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