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School Gallery, courtyard on Rue du Temple, Paris, France.

Dear Readers,

Welcome to spring--it's becoming quite green and beautiful around us--and to the March issue of TAS! For me, the contributions to this issue all concern the power of art and the force it exerts in our lives. Anna Leung's essay on the Italian Futurists, inspired by a visit to the Futurism 100! exhibition at the Estorick Collection in London, reminds us that there was a time when people believed fervently that art could wield real social and political power, that aesthetic innovation was an essential companion to social change--perhaps, even, that aesthetic innovation could bring about social change. This desire led the Futurists into an unfortunate alliance with Fascism; as Anna points out, however, the congruences between Futurism and Fascism have been overstated. And the desire to believe that art can exert direct, instrumental power in the social and political spheres persists.

We are pleased to offer a selection of poems from the Washington, D.C. based Francis Raven. These poems suggest the ability of works of art to hold captive our attention, perception, imagination, and thought: they trace what happens in our minds when looking at art, the associations we make when seeing paintings that are at a historical remove from us, the ways we both connect them to our own experiences and oblige them to remain at a distance. Raven also evokes our sense as viewers of the art-making process that must have led to the image we see, yet remains elusive.

Finally, Editor-in-Chief Deanna Sirlin brings us up to date on developments on the Paris art scene through an account of some young galleries she visited there and an interview she conducted with three gallerists whose spaces are new to that scene. Each gallerist evinces a strong desire that the gallery not be just a store for art, that it be the locus of a community constituted by gallerists, artists, viewers, critics, and others. Optimally, this community should hold the art work at its center--the art is its reason for being. The passionate commitment to art and artists that led these three people to set up galleries in a highly competitive environment during difficult economic times is palpable in their words (which we present here both in English translation and the original French). 

All my best,


Phillip Auslander is editor of The Art Section.

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