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Monday, November 20, 2006

Not Good News for Parachute Magazine, period.

Howdy!

It looks like Parachute Magazine is going to stop publishing. Hopefully it will only be for a little bit and not a long time before they start publishing again, but I'm not going to hold my breath. Interesting, that it hasn't been noted on their website, yet. Despite what I have written in the past about Ms. Pontbriand and her magazine, I am very sad to hear the news - it is never a good thing when whatever little coverage of Canadian and Quebecois art gets even smaller.

If any former Parachute writers want a job, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'm not certain that I can pay what Parachute paid, but... And I sincerely wish Ms. Pontbriand the best in her next endeavor, whatever it is, it has not been a good couple of years for her.

From the press release:
Montreal, 20 November 2006 — The contemporary art magazine PARACHUTE, founded in 1974, has taken the difficult decision to suspend its activities. Despite the success of its new format, introduced in 2000, and its international recognition, funding levels no longer make it possible to ensure a reasonable level of quality and stability.

Despite its determination and efforts to maintain the journal’s presence on the contemporary art scene and to continue operations, PARACHUTE’s board of directors was obliged to take this last-resort decision after examining all the economic and social factors which would have enabled the journal to extract itself from the impasse facing it. The journal had recently succeeded in increasing its sales by more than 200% while at the same time cutting expenses and trimming budgets. Major fundraising efforts over the last years have produced significant but insufficient results. As well, the repeated demands on government agencies have been unproductive. An overall drop in subsidies, in tandem with the current funding structure of the journal and the media environment today make the task that much more complex. Despite PARACHUTE’s exceptional longevity in a highly competitive milieu — a longevity owing to the enthusiasm of its contributors and readers and to the unflagging determination of its director — its suspension of activities at this time highlights the precariousness of cultural organizations in Quebec and the rest of Canada.

In a letter to the journal’s readers appearing in PARACHUTE 125 in January 2007, Chantal Pontbriand, director, writes:

“When the bell tolls, the adventure should come to a stop, at least in the way it has been led until now. The economic structure needed to pursue this passionate venture linking actors from around the world is gravely lacking at this point. The situation was never comfortable, but the continuing withdrawal of government funding for innovation in the arts and the need to cultivate ever-more private funding in a country where sponsorship of contemporary art is underdeveloped and where few private art galleries in the field exist, does not help our effort to raise funds and be self-sustaining. After huge efforts to cut costs and increase fundraising in the private sector in the hope of counteracting a too-fragile economic situation, our endeavour must come to a halt while we reconsider the situation and find other ways of doing what we do. Personally, I do not wish to stop myself, being convinced of the need for the magazine.”

PARACHUTE’s board of directors and director would like to extend their warm thanks to all those who contributed to the journal’s great success over the years: its founding members, its staff and board members over the years, its readers, authors, artists, editors, correspondents, graphic artists, copy editors, proofreaders, translators, printers, subscribers, advertisers, distributors, donors, collectors and federal, provincial, municipal and foreign funding agencies.

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