Penske Media Corporation (PMC) has acquired Artforum International Magazine, the company said Wednesday. The magazine, a leading voice in the contemporary art world, is the latest acquisition for PMC, which also owns WWD, and in 2018, purchased ARTNews and Art in America.
Artforum, which marked its 60th anniversary this year, will retain editorial autonomy from PMC’s other art-related brands. The executive teams also will remain, including publisher and associate publisher Danielle McConnell and Kate Koza, respectively, and editor David Velasco. Longtime publisher and Artforum shareholder, Anthony Korner, will remain in an ambassadorial role. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Artforum’s quality and authority in the art world is unparalleled,” PMC chairman and chief executive officer Jay Penske said in a statement announcing the acquisition. “Over the last 60 years, they have built a culture- and genre-defining brand known around the world, with one of the few insightful global perspectives on art. I have great admiration for the hard work Tony, Danielle, Kate and David have done to make Artforum such a success. I look forward to a bright future with this very talented team.”
McConnell added that PMC’s “media infrastructure will provide dynamic, amplified opportunities for Artforum’s international community of artists, galleries, museums and other valued partners.”
“Our highest priority is to maintain the continued legacy of our print publication while ensuring a vigorous digital expansion. We are thrilled to work alongside Jay Penske, who has understood these objectives from the outset,” she said.
“I’m proud to have been part of Artforum’s impressive evolution as the leading voice and record of contemporary art during my time as publisher,” said Korner. “As Artforum looks to its next chapter, we have found a strong steward in Jay Penske and PMC. PMC is committed to Artforum’s mission and invested in ensuring the magazine continues to uphold the highest editorial standards in the industry.”
Artforum was founded in San Francisco in 1962 by John P. Irwin Jr., with an editorial mission to cover the California art scene, and as a counterweight to New York City, the perpetual center of gravity of contemporary American art. But by the early ’70s, Artforum had relocated (physically and spiritually) to New York, where it remains. The magazine was largely reimagined by Velasco, who took the helm in early 2018, at the dawn of the MeToo movement. His first cover featured a self-portrait by HIV-positive artist Kia LeBeija. Artist and activist Nan Goldin revealed her addiction to OxyContin in a searing 2018 piece, which would lead to the founding of PAIN (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) and her campaign to expose the complicity of the Sackler family, erstwhile art world philanthropists and owners of Purdue Pharma, in an opioid epidemic that has killed thousands of Americans.
“I look forward to continuing our work with the brilliant writers, artists and editors who have made this magazine a touchstone for generations,” said Velasco in a statement. “I’m confident that PMC is the right partner for Artforum as we deepen our commitment to our community and build new ways to communicate our mission across a variety of media.”