Edit DeAk, Walter Robinson, and Joshua Cohn met in an art criticism class taught by Brian O'Doherty at Barnard College in New York, in 1972. The following year they began publishing Art-Rite, a forerunner to the punk/art ‘zine of the latter half of that decade. The publication was printed on newsprint and espoused a decidedly insider (though often anonymous) point of view. Each issue was given over entirely to an artist, a collective or a theme.
What made Art-Rite so unique, deAk told Artforum in 2003, was its “whole new tone and attitude. It was unheard of to have a sense of humor at the time, or not to be talking about ‘the problem’ of art—the problem of this, the problem of that.”
Most issues had covers designed by artists, including William Wegman, Richard Tuttle, Yuri, Christo, Dorothea Rockburne, Vito Acconci, Pat Steir, Robert Ryman, Joseph Beuys, Edward Ruscha, Alan Vega (Suicide), Carl Andre, Rosemary Mayer, Kim MacConnel, Image Bank, Chris Burden, Demi, and Judy Rifka.
The incredible list of contributors includes Chris Burden, Allen Ruppersberg, Kathy Acker, John Baldessari, Daniel Buren, Judith Hoffberg, Allan Kaprow, Richard Kostalanetz, Sol Le Witt, Lucy Lippard, Maurizio Nannucci, Richard Nonas, Adrian Piper, Lucio Pozzi, Marcia Resnick, Carolee Schneeman, Pat Steir, Lawrence Weiner, Robin Winters, Douglas Huebler, David Salle, Rosalee Goldberg, A.A. Bronson, Naomi Spector, Eve Sonneman, Peter Frank, Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Eleanor Antin, David Antin, Diego Cortez, Joan La Barbara, Joan Jonas, Philip Glass, Hannah Wilke, Rebecca Horn, Nancy Holt, Lucio Pozzi, Trisha Brown, Michael Kirby, Scott Burton, Robert Wilson, Yvonne Rainer, Christopher Knowles, Lucinda Childs, Lil Picard, Linda Benglis, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Morris, Hans Haacke, Julian Schnabel, Nancy Spero, Judy Chicago, Nancy Graves, Joan Jonas, Lee Krasner, Agnes Martin, Les Levine, Dennis Oppenheim, Richard Serra, Shigeko Kubota, Richard Landry, Nam June Paik, Ulrike Rosenbach, Willoughby Sharp and numerous others.
"We were riding on the absurdity of the situation—that we were three nobodies, had no money, had no fame, and didn’t know anybody in the art world. But it was perfect—we were totally free,” said deAk in 1974.
After the 21st issue (actually nineteenth) in 1978, the periodical folded. "It petered out. We kind of ran out of money," said Robinson. "It's just one of those things. We never really made any money out of it and it had just run it's course."
DeAk adds "We were getting older. We were not making any money, we had to work all the time and I just got tired". She went on to contribute to Artforum, Interview, ZG, Art Random, and many other publications, writing about Dennis Oppenheim, Hanne Darboven, Cookie Mueller, Cindy Sherman and others.
DeAk died last week at the age of 68.
“RIP my brilliant 70s collaborator who emerged from the Hungarian waves (via car trunk at the Yugoslavian border) with her equally brilliant husband Peter Grass, to rehab a 3500 sq ft loft on the top floor of 149 Wooster St into a center of fun and DIY culture, where she presided as guiding spirit over the launch of Art-Rite magazine and so many other endeavors, including curating the first performance art festival at Artists Space, then next door, and overseeing its first graffiti art show (I think) and co-founding Printed Matter.”
- Walter Robinson