This year, Tate Etc. magazine turns ten years old. To celebrate, its Assistant Editor, Mariko Finch, reveals what goes into making the art magazine inspired by but also independent from Tate's galleries
This January, Tate Etc. magazine turns ten years old and we’ve just finished work on our 30th issue. To prepare for this edition, we visited Richard Deacon in his London studio, made apocalyptic black meringues with chef Peter Gordon, and saw some candid polaroids of Richard Hamilton taken by artist friends from Yoko Ono to John Baldessari.
I began working on the magazine as an intern, in 2007, and I’m now Assistant Editor. I studied Photography at the London College of Communication, and after graduating gave myself a year to do as many internships as I could to get a breadth of experience in the arts. I worked in commercial galleries, auction houses and magazines to help me chose the field I wanted to specialise in. I’ve always been fascinated with images, and obsessed with printed matter, so an art magazine was the obvious place to settle.
We are a small team based at Tate Britain – myself, editor Simon Grant and publishing manager Belinda Johnson – so we also work with external colleagues. Our designer Mark el-Khatib is across town at Sara de Bondt Studio, sub-editor Ian Massey is based in St. Ives, and editor-at-large Bice Curiger is based in Zürich. Though we’re not in the same room, during production we all speak several times a day. There are always healthy discussions, arguments and suggestions about each element, and the magazine is a richer experience for our collective stubbornness.
A week at Tate Etc. might include going to an artist’s studio to interview them; trawling bookshops for a first edition so we can photograph the front cover; searching through boxes of old negatives in an archive, and meeting with the curators - every day is different. I once spent a whole day on eBay bidding on signed photos of Bill Cosby and Biggie Smalls for an article on Afro Modern at Tate Liverpool, and we had to carefully negotiate permission from Francis Ford Coppolla to reproduce the poster for Apocalyse Now on our cover – which is one of my favourites to date.
Because we always commission external contributors to write for us, the tone and approach of the articles and essays always differ, and it’s these many voices that give the magazine its editorial identity. Most importantly, it’s vital to have artists’ voices in Tate Etc., and we often ask them to talk about other artists that have informed their own practices or inspired them in some way. The responses can be really surprising – for example, Ed Ruscha, told us about how Millais’s Ophelia influenced his own Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Fire 1968.
For us the magazine is an ongoing dialogue between the current and the past; a conversation about where Tate fits in to the art world as a whole, and a beautiful visual record of the galleries’ exhibition programme. Over the last few years, Tate has been propelled into the digital sphere, and as part of the Tate Media & Audiences team, it’s really exciting to be contributing to this growth with the release of our iPad app last year. This has allowed us to be much more creative with the how we present what’s inside the magazine; whereas before we could talk about a particular film, now we can actually show it.
As a team, we always want to deliver the richest editorial experience possible, and encourage our readers to join in with conversations that we begin, whether they’re Tate members, subscribers or people who may be picking up the magazine in the shop for the first time.
Issue 30 -– Spring 2014 of Tate Etc. is available for sale from 15 January 2013, and is delivered free to Tate Members