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C Magazine is accepting pitches for features and reviews* for Issue 145, CRITICISM, AGAIN (Spring 2020)

In the last handful of years, an unprecedented proliferation of voices in criticism has begun to change the landscape of contemporary art discourse and its stakes. How has this recent turn affected power dynamics within the art world, if at all? What is criticism’s capacity to incite change? When critics talk, do institutions listen? What’s the relationship between art criticism and the public callout? How can critics engage a politically-minded criticism without just saying what they think they should be saying? How can we challenge assumptions of expertise based on identity? How do we grapple with the ethics and etiquette of crossing identity lines in criticism, toward meaningful dialogue? Is it possible for marginalized critics to be more than advocates of marginalized artists and to actually critique their output—now that they are both ostensibly more visible? How do we characterize the feedback loop between critics and artists today? What responsibility do publications and editors have to the critics they publish and to their audiences? What are the implications of the privileged insisting on “giving voice to the voiceless” instead of ceding space altogether? How can we remove the persistent barriers of access—race, class, gender, ability, mentorship—to criticism? What are the structural causes that make these symptoms recur?

Feature pitches are due October 10. Review * pitches are accepted on a rolling basis until October 30. First drafts are due December 10.

Send pitches to editor@cmagazine.com, with a subject line that starts with the word PITCH and goes on to clearly indicate the submission type (feature essay, interview, or review, for example) as well as your subject and intended word count.

* Reviews may or may not be related to the theme.

Previous call for pitches: Issue 144 on DÉJÀ VU.


INFORMATION FOR WRITERS

C Magazine welcomes writing on contemporary art and culture that is lively and rigorously engaged with current ideas and debates. C is interested in writing that addresses art and its various contexts, and looks at trends and emerging perspectives through a mix of editorials, columns, in-depth essays, interviews, artist projects and reviews. We accept pitches for features, artist projects, reviews and columns. See below for details on each.

If you are interested in writing for us, please send us a pitch with a subject line that starts with the word “PITCH” and goes on to clearly indicate the submission type and subject. Pitches are sent in the body of an email and must include a description (max. 250 words) of your proposed contribution, the artists and artworks you plan to write about (with hyperlinks, where relevant), what ideas or issues you plan to explore, and intended word count.

Include a link to your website—or, in the absence of a website—a copy of your CV and one or two writing samples (ideally ones that have already been published, and written in a style similar to your proposed piece). Email all pitches to Jaclyn Bruneau, Editor at editor@cmagazine.com. Submissions are vetted by the editorial team.

Final submissions of content must conform to the Canadian Press Style Guide, the Chicago Manual of Style, and the Oxford Dictionary.

Note: Each issue includes articles and reviews commissioned directly by the editors, as well as pieces originating from unsolicited pitches. We accept pitches on an ongoing basis up until the deadlines indicated above (and on occasion, after the deadline). We may have already fully commissioned the issue before the pitch deadline, so please write to us as soon as you can if you're working on an idea you'd like us to consider. We do not accept unsolicited, completed manuscripts.

Features:
Feature texts (essays, interviews, roundtables, experimental texts) necessarily explore some aspect of the quarterly theme and focus on issues, concepts and ideas in visual art and culture, especially of lesser-examined practices, positions and perspectives.

1,500 – 3,500 words, accompanied by a series of images.

Artist Project:
Each issue includes one commissioned artist project which engages the site-specificity of the magazine’s format in some way. Each artist project is accompanied by a commissioned text by a writer selected by the artist(s) and/or Editor. The project spans the first six and final two pages of the magazine (including a page for the accompanying text), although we are open to discussing other possible formats. While artist projects are often solicited by the Editor, we do welcome and consider all submitted proposals. We only accept proposals for the creation of new work.

Reviews:
We publish reviews of exhibitions, publications, moving image works, performance art and symposia, and various alternative platforms for the dissemination of artworks and critical ideas. Each issue’s set of reviews reflects the diversity of art practice within Canada, and among Canadian artists showing internationally.

Reviews cover events that have occurred within three months of the pitch deadline for an exhibition, performance, or symposium and within two years for publications and moving image works.

800 – 1,000 words, accompanied by a single image.

Letters:
Each issue features a small selection of letters to the editors (and to C Magazine readers) printed at the front of every issue. Letters engage the previous issue—its theme, articles, images—and related things beyond the magazine’s pages. They may be informal, informative, creative, inquisitive, speculative, critical, or any other number of things imaginable in the epistolary form. The column is intended to create space for dialogue on and around contemporary art, and to continue conversations between issues, themes and writers.

Letters are selected for publication from those submitted and may be edited lightly for length and clarity. An honorarium will be paid to each writer whose letter is selected for print.

200 – 400 words.

Composition:
A space for creative writing practices that are adjacent to art writing, but which may engage or address the forms, styles and contexts of it.

800 – 1000 words.

One Thing:
As the name suggests, this column gives the writer an opportunity to indulge the contours of one specific thing—an artwork, memory, garment, text, encounter, film, person, object, building, historical event, etc.—in relation to the given theme. The thing likely has, or has had, some kind of impression, effect or pull on the writer or their practice, either in a longstanding, deep way, or in a fleeting, flash-in-the-pan way. This column makes space for curiosities, obsessions and musings on things that productively complicate our notion of what constitutes thinking about art, and allows the writer to explore things that aren't beholden to the "new."

700 - 900 words, accompanied by a single image.

WRITING GUIDELINES

We’re looking for original insight and analysis into ideas and practices within contemporary art as they relate to culture at large, and not exclusively in relation to art history or specialized debates.

We’re interested in the institutions and social groups that make up and exert influence in the art world, such as galleries, residencies, audiences and critics, as well as those contexts the art world engages with and integrates. These include social communities, physical geographies, the economy, systems of communication, and everyday practices as basic as working, eating, thinking, bathing and breathing.

STYLE

Strive for a careful integration of description and informed analysis. The ideas should be apparent in the work itself. While we like submissions to be idea-driven and to include endnotes when needed, avoid lengthy discussions of academic theory, and also avoid including more endnotes than absolutely necessary.

Avoid academic formalities, such as “I will argue that…” or “in summary…” as well as didactic phrasing like introducing sentences with “compare” or “consider.” Strive for prose that is lively and engaging.

Don’t use lots of complicated jargon. While our readers are sophisticated, they come from a range of disciplines and backgrounds, and don’t all have the specialized knowledge that you may have. Write in an accessible, compelling manner, for an educated audience.

Use plain language as much as possible, avoid complicated sentence structure, and vary sentence length.

Avoid the use of clichés and generic concepts, as these often masquerade as critical content. It isn’t enough to say that an artwork “addresses global inequalities” or is “revolutionary” without explanation. And avoid using overused and meaningless adjectives like “groundbreaking,” “whimsical” or “transcendent.”

All drafts should be written as cleanly as possible, with attention to structure, organization and grammar. We will reject submissions that require more editing than our resources allow, and writers will not be eligible for a kill fee if the work does not meet our minimum standards. 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

  • Being employed by or sitting on the Board of Directors of the institution where you are reviewing an exhibition.
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  • Being an artist represented by the gallery where you are reviewing an exhibition. 
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  • Having a curatorial role in relation to the artist or exhibition. 
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  • Being a significant collector of the artist’s work. 
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  • Being related to the artist. 
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  • Taking payment in any form from the artist or a subject of a text, including having your travel expenses paid for by the venue, in exchange for reviewing the event.

If you have concerns about a situation that might pose a conflict of interest, you are welcome to contact us at: editor@cmagazine.com.

C Magazine is published quarterly in March (Spring), June (Summer), September (Autumn) and December (Winter) by C The Visual Arts Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization established to present ideas, advance education and document contemporary visual art and artist culture.

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