Dial Magazine

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The Dial Magazine is published annually, and presents various topics discussed in the art community today.

Editors Note

The Dial Magazine, founded by Ralph Waldo Emerson, has enjoyed several reincarnations since its founding in 1840, as a literary magazine. Former editors include Ralph Waldo Emerson and Scofield Thayer.

During the 1920’s Thayer’s Dial featured contemporary literary works including the first publication of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and much of Yeats finest latter verse and a selection of Ezra Pound’s best Cantos. It also featured artwork by Picasso, Klimt, and Schiele who were unheard of in America at that time.

Thayer’s major objective was to rouse the American public to develop a taste for modern art. The Dial set about to achieve this by forming a collection of paintings and sculptures by the best contemporary artists of the day, exhibiting their works in the pages of The Dial and featuring articles describing the role of modern art in relationship to the Fine Arts.

This new reincarnation of The Dial has set forth, as its primary objective, to establish the following:

1) To familiarize the nation with the power and meaning of Folk Art.
2) To develop a meaningful definition of Folk Art.
3) To establish Folk Art, shorn of its crafts, in the philosophic mainstream of the Fine Arts.

We trust that this most recent avatar of The Dial approaches the success of its predecessors which introduced America to modern literature, and later on to modern art. May the next decade find folk art firmly ensconced among the fine arts delivering its powerful message to a population grappling with the meaning of existence, everyday life and beauty.

Folk Art Manifesto

Readers of the Dial, having defined Folk Art, we are now prepared to make an additional advance – we intend to elevate Folk Art to Contemporary Fine Art status!

To achieve this goal it was necessary, though wrenching, to exclude utilitarian crafts. Fine Art completed this task two hundred years ago when it excluded Louis XIV chairs and assigned them to Decorative Craft status. Needless to say, sculpture remains an integral part of both art forms.

Stripped of their peripheral crafts, the minor differences between Folk Art and Fine Art become more obvious.

It is self-evident that contemporary fine artists are intent on employing an unending stream of innovative techniques in pursuit of creativity. The conveyance of meaning acquires secondary status.

Folk artists, by contrast, are more intent on conveying a message to the public at large, be it the religious nature of man, the joys of life or more poignantly, the emotional and social distress they harbor. For the folk artist, meaning precedes technique.

Having defined and elevated Folk Art to the status enjoyed by Contemporary Fine Art, we can now proceed to the next trench – establishing equality between both art forms. Then in one magnificent flourish, we shall annihilate the distinction between them entirely.

Henceforth, Folk Art and Fine Art shall be jointly labeled, “Contemporary Art,” where all artists can receive equal respect and equal compensation for their artistic contributions.

America remains the last country in the world-art-community to maintain a cleavage between the two.

Readers of the Dial, man the trenches, victory is within our reach!

--the editors, 2005

The DIAL Magazine is a scholarly art journal published by the Hurn Press and is available for sale.  Subscriptions and back issues may be purchased from the Online Museum Shop.  If you would like more information, please contact us at the executive offices.