Editors’ Letter

‘Today art is moving in a direction of which our fathers would never even have dreamed’, wrote the artist Franz Marc in 1912. ‘Everywhere new artists are greeting each other; a look, a handshake is enough for them to understand each other’. Marc, whose red, green and yellow cows jostle for space on the cover of this issue of Tate Etc., was a founding member of the Blue Rider, a circle of creative friends who would wrestle art from the past and usher it into modernity. Natalia Sidlina, curator of Expressionists, coming to Tate Modern this spring, writes about the artistic community whose outsized influence on art has been felt ever since.

The idea of creative community runs throughout this issue. We’ve compiled 18 dedications to the legendary artist, musician and activist Yoko Ono from fellow stars who have been lucky enough to encounter her. What shines through these recollections is the generosity with which she brings people together and helps them to find their voices. ‘The unseen role of the artist is as creative catalyst’, writes Elvis Costello.

Communities can also form across time and space. In a timeline illustrated by Olga Prader, Tudor women who painted miniatures at the court of Henry VII rub shoulders with art students at the Slade some 400 years later, all fighting to fit into an art world built for men; for Outi Pieski, interviewed in the issue, a creative circle can extend back in time to include her Sámi ancestors, who she converses with through craft.

As Alvaro Barrington says in a Q&A: ‘for some reason I started hanging out with artists’. That’s something we can recommend to everyone.

Tate Etc.