The Red Hook Journal is fueled, first and foremost, by a deep-seated belief in curatorial education, as one of the few things that stand a chance of introducing a modicum of institutional accountability within the field. The Center for Curatorial Studies is a popular target for “self-taught” curators, many of them surprisingly self-confident. But at its best, the institution fosters a rare appreciation of curatorial prerogatives, boundaries, and commitments; and an exceptional appetite for clear and distinctive positions—none of which is de rigueur among curators today. You might assume that few CCS graduates care about these things, but even if 10 percent of them did, that’s roughly ten times the going rate.
In terms of writing, the journal attempts to foster a form of prose that minimizes both the anecdotal and the macro-theoretical. It encourages a pungent blend of professional polemics and stark reflexivity, in the hope of developing this tenor into a signature style. In this regard, Suhail Malik, a protagonist of the Red Hook Journal project, has penned contributions that have been decisive in more ways than one.
Among the journal’s accomplishments, I’d like to insist on its timeline. It truly is a challenge to transcend our internalized modalities of ink-on-paper, which is why, to this day, so many online journals are essentially printed matter beset with hyperlinks. In contrast to thematized bundles called “issues,” Red Hook Journal’s rolling publication schedule allows for editorial flexibility, and forces editors and readers alike to take seriously the kinetic specificities of the Internet. Meanwhile, the eight categories, or rubrics, which organize the journal’s content (“Artists on Curators,” “In Translation,” etc.) introduced a clarity that may have been wanting, given a pace as irregular as ours.
When commissioning artists and curators, Red Hook Journal has chiefly addressed the enduring schism between text and image, the friction between the material and the logo-ideological overlay. Which is still one of the most convoluted challenges facing curatorial practice today, and a problem all the more convoluted in the context of the online. On that note, I’ve decided to end my tenure as editor of the journal where it started: in a collaboration with artist Katya Sander, whose commissioned project Hard Drive brilliantly addressed the aforementioned, convoluted problem at the very outset of the journal endeavor. We do hope you enjoy her finale furioso, aptly titled The End, as much as we did.
Having run Red Hook from 2011-13, it really is a pleasure to now welcome CCS Bard director Paul O’Neill as the new editor of the journal. I’d like to conclude by offering my thanks to Karly Wildenhaus, Tom Eccles, Jaime Baird, Leora Morinis, Debby Mayer, Rebecca van Kollenburg and everyone else who have helped to make the Red Hook Journal what it is.
Katya Sander would like to thank Ditlev Marboe for his assistance in creating The End.