Friday, 19 November 2010, 6pm, Room B33, Birkbeck, London WC1E 7HX

Recently the academy has turned its attention to the magazine as a serious object of study. The so-called ‘little magazines’ of the avant-garde have become centerpieces in approaching the visual and literary culture of modernism anew, with an enriched understanding of the relationship among artists, writers, editors, and their public. There is no comprehensive methodology for approaching the magazine that would encompass the different audiences and contents held between the magazine’s covers, yet the uptick in scholarly writings about the magazine indicates some emerging methodologies and challenges. In light of the continuing work being done on magazines, the case of the Spanish Civil War magazine stands out for its significance as a marker not only of the persistence of the illustrated magazine as a form of expression and exchange during wartime but also of the complex web that existed for magazine producers and readers between a culture by/for an elite and the popularity that some magazines experienced as everyday entertainment or platforms for military doctrine.

In this seminar, Jordana Mendelson will explore the illustrated press of the Spanish Civil War by tracing an evolution in the treatment of magazines from being mere containers or supports for ideas to embodying ideas through the choices made by artists in crafting the magazine as an artifact. Foremost among the problems addressed in this seminar will be to think through the apparent contradiction between the active role magazines played in Civil War culture, both on the front and in the rear guard, and the relative paucity of material on how to interpret these hybrid image-texts today.

Jordana Mendelson is Associate Professor of Early 20C Visual Culture in Spain at New York University and author of Documenting Spain: Artists, Exhibition Culture, and the Modern Nation 1929-1939 (Penn State University Press, 2005) and Revistas y Guerra 1936-1939/Magazines and War 1936-1939 (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 2007). She is the co-author of Margaret Michaelis: Fotografía, Vanguardia y Política en la Barcelona de la República (Institut Valencià d’Art Moderno, 1999) and she has curated numerous exhibitions, including “Other Weapons: Photography and Print Culture during the Spanish Civil War” (International Center of Photography, 2007).

This event is free and open to all.

Please click on Jordana poster to download a copy