Arty: Greatest Hits

Published by Transition Editions
Edited by Paul Murphy

Reviewed by: Rosemary Shirley »

Arty is an art fanzine, written by the biggest art fans of all – artists. Like all good fanzines it knows its audience and is truly devoted to its subject: the art superstars of today and tomorrow, inspirations, disappointments and the general heartaches and happy accidents of making, seeing and loving art. Founded four years ago by artist Cathy Lomax, it operates out of Transition Gallery, an artist-run space in East London. Each issue takes a theme like Girls, Film, Scandal or Anarchy, and comprises the words and drawings of over thirty contributors.

Arty: Greatest Hits reproduces the best of these words and pictures from the first sixteen issues, together with newly commissioned pieces on the theme of greatest hits. It seems somehow contrary to the ephemeral spirit of the fanzine to produce an anthology-type bookwork. However Arty: Greatest Hits stays true to its low-tech roots. The unglossy soft cover and adherence to the original format of Arty means that only the increased volume of the edition and occasional use of colour signify its elevation in status. Highlights include: How Best a Friend are You? (Hatty Oliver and Kaval Rafferty’s trashy magazine-style personality test, with questions like “Your best friend’s work is featured in an exhibition, you are secretly extremely underwhelmed. When attending the private view do you: a) Firebomb the gallery the night before and proclaim the rubble as the art of destruction; b)'”); musings on Gilbert and George as the new royalty by Paul Murphy; a diary-like report by Antonio Gianasi, on the Tracey Emin opening at the White Cube 2 which generates a certain amount of misty eyed nostalgia; and last, but not least, The Great British Art Quiz by James Payne – considerably harder than it looks.

The content is unashamedly London-centric and no reviews come from outside the capital, although there is a feature on ‘Bristol’s Best Bohemian Beings’ and in the Arty Directory of favourite places to eat, drink, see art and lie down, recommendations are made for places as far afield as Portsmouth and Suffolk; perhaps of little consolation to those of us who work hard in the ‘regions’ to create and maintain a vibrant art scene. However this really should be untroubling as the only thing Arty claims to represent are the experiences of its contributors, not a representative sample of UK creativity. In response to any charge of London-centricity I suspect that Arty founder Lomax would urge us to all start our own fanzines which represent our own thoughts, experiences and creativity – and she’d be right.

Writer detail:

Rosemary Shirley is Interface editor, she writes about art for magazines, websites and galleries, she teaches at Goldsmiths, Birkbeck and University of Sussex.

Venue detail:
Transition Gallery »
Unit 25a Regent Studios, 8 Andrews Road, London E8 4QN

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