The Tate Gallery is currently conducting a feasibility study on producing its own Tate magazine. It will form part of the package offered to Friends of the Tate and be available for sale, in the style of the successful Royal Academy Magazine. There are some significant differences however: the Tate magazine will be published by the architectural monograph publishers and publishers of Blueprint, Wordsearch, who will make the financial commitment to the project, aiming to sell a steep 25,000 copies each issue including the copies sent to the 8,000 Friends of the Tate and those bought in by the gallery; the Royal Academy Magazine is published “in-house” and supports itself through its advertising revenue, capitalising on the fact that it has a guaranteed audience of 67,000 Friends. Under current director Nicholas Serota, with his controversial yearly “new hangs”, and the additional excitement of the transfer of the Tate’s contemporary collection into a purpose-built museum by the year 2000, the Tate has become a news-making institution, a factor that wordsearch will have taken into consideration. Over 1.5 million people visit the Tate annually and could be expected to find a Tate magazine an attractive purchase. One question that the newly appointed editor Tim Marlowe (of the Tate’s education department) will have to decide is the editorial stance of the magazine: he has to balance the curatorial concerns of the Tate with issues that would appeal to a general reader while treading an ideologically independent path. Equilibrium will also have to be attained between the needs of an independent publishing house aiming for profit and those of the gallery. The pilot issue goes on sale in September and the magazine will appear three times a year.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'A forum for the Tate'