The publishers of Artforum said that the staff’s choice to publish an open letter regarding the Israel-Hamas War did not align with the organization’s standards, leading to the dismissal of one of the leading magazine editors in the art world on Thursday night.
After leading Artforum for six years, David Velasco, the editor in chief, announced his dismissal. Since 2005, he had been employed by the magazine, which is regarded as one of the most prominent art publications globally.
“I have no regrets,” Velasco said in an email. “I’m disappointed that a magazine that has always stood for freedom of speech and the voices of artists has bent to outside pressure.”
Velasco was among the thousands of artists, scholars, and cultural professionals who signed the Oct. 19 open letter, which called for Palestinian liberation and denounced cultural institutions for remaining silent over Israeli bombing of Gazan citizens.
A request for comment from the magazine’s publishers, Danielle McConnell and Kate Koza, was not immediately answered. “Not consistent with Artforum’s editorial process,” they wrote in a post criticizing the decision on the magazine’s website on Thursday night. They stated in the post, which omitted any mention of Velasco’s dismissal, that the letter “was widely misinterpreted as a statement from the magazine about highly sensitive and complex geopolitical circumstances.”