I remember taking a night train from Paris to Madrid on the night of the 2004 US Presidential election, in my bag a copy of the Gunter Grass’s magnum opus, The Tin Drum, which I’d been slowly reading throughout my trip, searching for find some sort of consolidation with the chaotic early Bush years and Grass’s interpretation of siilar times in WWII Germany. Immersed in this art created and written after such tumultuous years, and The Tin Drum’s maniacal, surreal strangeness has almost come to symbolize what the twentieth century understood about itself. A main character literally steps out of time to observe a monumental shift in humanity, but “remained the precocious three-year-old, towered over by grown-ups but superior to all grown-ups, who refused to measure his shadow with theirs, who was complete both inside and outside,” was about to take on a post WWII world where democracy teetered on the brink of collapse. It is stunning art.
I think about this as we, about to publish the Winter issue, are on the precipice of so much apprehension and uncertainty. Or, what is so bizarre, maybe on the brink of a revival, a time of ideas, progress and understanding. At the risk of sounding naive, I look at the readers and artists of Juxtapoz who participated in the pages of our 2020 Quarterlies and see a year where we all decided to step out of institutional templates and choose our own version of an ideal world—on our own without a rulebook or permission. I don’t imply identity with Oskar in The Tin Drum, but I recognize the significance, the imperative of art being made in the wake of catastrophic moments. We make the decision to be collectively curious and shape a world of inclusion and new ideas.
We aren’t taking night trains across Europe right now, but we do have the opportunity for so many cross-cultural encounters. Winter 2021 cover artist, Amani Lewis, is a brilliant emerging voice who combines so many mediums in their work that we feel like we are going through our own schooling to understand their craft. But one thing is certain: Lewis is part of a new generation of artists for whom collaboration is the lifeblood, inviting us to share their collective practice. Mr StarCity, the NYC-based painter who has channeled infectious love and care for others into his professional vision, is on the brink of a major moment, soothing many of us along the way. Steven Sweatpants, Aurora James, Trey Abdella, Danica Lundy, Brian Calvin, Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, Bianca Nemelc, Maria Qamar… these are all fresh thinking artists who exemplify what a new decade will begin to look like in art. Collective mindsets, inclusive visions and a refusal to be predetermined by the past.
If you are hesitant about rewriting history or venturing into the vaunted lexicon of Art, we offer that opportunity in these pages. We owe it to our readers, artists and the blueprint that was established in 1994, when Juxtapoz was created as a platform for alternative cultural voices. 2020 might be defined by the pandemic, social unrest and a test of democracy. Join us as we seek to broaden and embolden what the next decade can be. —Evan Pricco
The Winter 2021 Quarterly features interviews and spotlights on Amani Lewis, Brian Calvin, Mr StarCity, Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, Bianca Nemelc, Maria Qamar, Trey Abdella, Danica Lundy, Aurora James, Steven Sweatpants, Ana Leovy, Darien Birks, Troy Lamar Chew, Lowe Mill Arts in Hunstville, Alabama, Arinze Stanley and more.