Brian Boucher’s excellent artnet story on the advertiser fallout from Knight Landesman’s departure from the magazine neatly balances the idea that art galleries are outraged at the revelations of Landesman’s behavior and the magazine’s handling of at least one serious complaint with the perceived need to support an important organ of the art world.
“I don’t plan to advertise in the magazine until we see real, systematic changes,” the New York dealer Lisa Spellman, who owns 303 Gallery, told artnet News by phone. “We will watch how the publishers handle the current lawsuit and what kind of future statements they make. Their statements thus far have been tone-deaf, confused, and, frankly, insulting, which only compounds the problem.” Spellman and her gallery initially responded to the news with an Instagram post, captioned, in part, “Predatory behavior cannot be tolerated in our society, our industry, our spaces.”
Unfortunately, this conflict plays out agains the backdrop of a much larger shift in the media. There is a common belief that Landesman has been able to stave off the loss of print advertising through the strength of his relationships and an institutional belief that the magazine needs to be supported.
For many galleries who felt that advertising in Artforum satisfied their artists more than it attracted gallery goers, the damage to the magazine’s reputation will only make it easier to stop buying ads. After all, most galleries that can afford to buy Artforum ads have built their own social media and special projects presence to reach their audience directly.