A Critics’ Forum

After an NEA-funded critics’ symposium in October 1984 brought together regional and national critics to evaluate the condition of art in the Southeast, edited transcripts published in the January/February issue (see photo) of volume nine brought readers the passionately argued views of Christopher Knight, Roberta Smith, Thomas Lawson, Martha Rosler, and Donald Kuspit, together with an equally impassioned panel of regional writers. The New Media issue that followed was devoted to topics in art and science, a theme that would recur in subsequent years. That year also brought the first feature-length piece, on writer Kathy Acker, by a new contributor, Glenn Harper, who would become Editor of the magazine less than a year and a half later. “A/The Black Aesthetic,” the theme of the JANUARY/FEBRUARY issue, was an innovative exploration of a topic that would later be revisited from various perspectives. Contributors to that issue included Benny Andrews, AFRICOBRA member Wadsworth Jarrell, Lowery Stokes Sims, and an as yet little-known younger scholar named Henry Louis Gates.