Launch of 4Columns

Launch of 4Columns


September 23, 2016

Launch of 4Columns

We are pleased to announce the launch of 4Columns, a weekly online magazine of arts criticism.

4Columns is a nonprofit publication that views arts criticism as a writerly genre in which singular passions ignite public discourse. That’s what readers will find in their inboxes each week: 4Columns that are rigorous, eloquent, and deeply invested, covering the gamut of contemporary culture, from literature to film to the visual arts. The project of an endowed foundation, 4Columns is also notable for its commitment to nurturing excellence in criticism by compensating its contributors fairly.

Centered—but not moored—in the New York scene, 4Columns reflects the cosmopolitanism of today’s culture through a diverse group of contributors, including such award-winning authors as Hilton Als, Ed Halter, James Hannaham, René Steinke, and many more. The advisory board includes Maggie Nelson, Lauren Cornell, Sasha Frere-Jones, and Okwui Enwezor.

“To justify its existence,” Charles Baudelaire said of criticism, it “should be partial, impassioned, and political, that is to say, written from an exclusive point of view that opens up the widest horizons.” Following Baudelaire’s lead, 4Columns treats criticism as a literary genre in its own right. The criticism it publishes functions as a conversational gambit, a piece of fan mail from the most exacting of admirers, maybe even a breakup note.

4Columns‘s mainstay is the thousand-word review—a length that both enables critical reflection and demands writerly rigor. The site’s flexible, modular framework supports a multiplicity of styles, approaches, and ideas. 4Columns, further, maintains meaningful distinctions between artistic disciplines while accommodating the hybrid nature of much contemporary practice.

Launched at a moment when the internet is increasingly the dominant outlet for critics and criticism, 4Columns exploits the resources of online technology but avoids one of the blogosphere’s most prevalent shortcomings: the poor payment of writers. It also counters the web’s information overload and tendency to foster hyperspecialization by focusing on four well-chosen works a week, bringing together writing on varied cultural forms within a single venue. Combining sophisticated analysis with broad accessibility, 4Columns insists on art’s capacity to serve as something shared, even—perhaps especially—when it is the object of criticism.

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September 23, 2016

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