We at Circa are currently working through a thorough redesign of the website. It’s going nicely. Also nice is the way that, as a consequence, I get to look at old issues and see what was going on back as far as November 1981, when Circa first appeared. Specifically, the ads are worth mining. The Orchard Gallery, for example, took the back cover of the first issue. The Orchard moved on but the ad has survived; also preserved is the list of those showing in the Orchard in November and December of 1981.

I always look at ads when I pick up other art magazines. I get turned off when ads and reviews are too blatantly linked, but otherwise I enjoy seeing how an art space sets out its wares, and I suspect ads often give a better snapshot of who the main players are, at that moment, than the rest of the magazine may. I’m also very conscious that the ad may in time be the main public, enduring record of who was showing what, where and when.

And yes, this is a plug for ads in Circa. Like it or not, it has the history behind it that has made it the ‘journal of record’ for contemporary art in Ireland – an important place to set out your stall and ensure a place in that history.