Year 28 by Betsy Sussler

BOMB 107 Spring 2009
Issue 107 0  Cover

Discover MFA Programs in Art and Writing

BOMB Celebrates its 28th Year

For some time now, even before the economic crisis engulfed us all, we at BOMB have been thinking about how to bring our scrappy, collaborative, and maverick past with us into our future. (Yes, I’m reclaiming the word maverick; it used to mean a rebel thinker and doer, willing to live a life outside the status quo. It still does.)

In 1981, we subsidized BOMB with a $3,000 loan, but it was really started by the enthusiasm of New York’s downtown art community, and the hard-won vision that through developing outspoken conversations between artists, this magazine could be revelatory in nature. Artists and writers volunteered their time, their money, and their work to make that happen.

Since then, BOMB has changed the public discourse: the artist’s voice is now an innate part of curricula, publications, and museum panels all over the country. This was not always the case. Artists were not deemed to be the appropriate interpreters of their own works; the authors of their own tales. Now they are.

BOMB has stuck to its mandate for 28 years. We have learned how to best pair artists from all fields so that they are comfortable enough for an intimacy to emerge, but also challenged so that surprising insights might evolve. Through collaboration, we transform the spoken word into an elegant text that retains its vernacular.

Before Mark Magill and Michael McClard designed the first issue of BOMB, Sarah Charlesworth and I were sitting at her studio desk talking about how we wanted it to look—a rebel with a past. Artists have daily conversations with those who have preceded them; we walk with the dead, they live in art. Artists also make work meant to breach that past and redefine our future. How best to visually portray that dichotomy, and juxtapose the cacophony of voices that made up the chaotic whole of downtown’s ethos?

This was on our minds last fall, when we gave our new designers, Jessica Green and Tom Griffiths of Everything Studio, many of our old issues. We spoke with them at length and they worked through the holidays to come up with an armature that could hold all this and more. I think they got it. Let us know what you think; it’s still evolving, and we want your input. Go to BOMBlog to post your comments.

BETSY SUSSLER, cofounder, editor-in-chief

Originally published in

BOMB 107, Spring 2009

Featuring interviews with Adam Bartos and A.M. Homes, Jacqueline Humphries, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, Andrei Codrescu, Mary Gaitskill, Matthew Buckingham, and Pauline Oliveros. 

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Issue 107 0  Cover