Art on Paper Folds, But Holds Out Hope for Imminent Revival


The latest victim of the print media crisis is Art on Paper magazine, which has ceased publication. Co-publishers Shelly Bancroft and Peter Nesbett announced the New York-based bimonthly’s closure this evening, noting their hope “that six to twelve months from now, when the economy has improved, someone new will come along and revive the publication, either in print or digital form.”

Art on Paper began in the late 1960s as The Print Collectors Newsletter, a resource aimed at the burgeoning market for limited-edition prints. In the mid-1990s, the newsletter became Art on Paper (technically a spaceless, lowercase affair: artonpaper) and its editorial coverage was expanded to include photographs and drawings. Thereafter, the magazine maintained its commitment to works on paper in all media and recently collaborated with artists including Thomas Nozkowski, Polly Apfelbaum, and Monique Prieto to produce limited-edition works for its “Great Poster Project.”

Serving the niche market for limited-edition prints, multiples, and artists’ books with in-depth features and eye-catching, colorful design, Art on Paper just couldn’t ride out the recession. In the face of a 65% drop in advertising over the past year and a half, the publishers reduced the magazine’s size (halving their printing costs), laid off staff, and created other revenue streams, such as the poster sales.

“We want you to know that we did not go gently,” noted Bancroft and Nesbett in their e-mail. “In addition to making drastic changes to our daily operations, and exploring a variety of long-term strategic options, we also spent six months looking for new financing, possibly even a new owner.” When that search proved fruitless, “we had to close shop.”