Joe Cardella working in the ARTLIFE archive

What is ARTLIFE Limited Editions?

“ARTLIFE is not meant to be a monologue, but a conversation among creative people, all of whom are vital, interested, and alive. Each month we will strive to improve the quality of our presentation and include the work of those who would like to join the conversation.” ~Joe Cardella, Editor/Publisher ARTLIFE

Cover of one of the ARTLIFE Limited Edition journals


In addition to his own works of art, Joe Cardella created and published an extraordinary monthly publication called ARTLIFE Limited Editions. Each month’s issue  presented a diverse array of media, including collages, original prints and photos, dimensional objects, poetry and prose from artists across the country and the world.  Contributors produced a specified number of original duplicates (up to 200) and then sent them through the mail to Cardella for inclusion.

Two hundred and seventy five editions were published from 1981 to 2006. Each issue is a collection of 30 to 40 pieces of original art, assembled with the help of friends.

Friends and community-making are crucial aspects of ARTLIFE Limited Editions. Professor Emeritus (Cal State Northridge) Robert Chianese writes,

"Opening an issue received in the mail gives one the distinctive pleasure that a bundle of unique riches in color and form await one, and that someone is looking at your page as you are looking at theirs. It creates a community in that issue, as well as through the frequent repeat submissions of a number of artists. They can create a sequence of related pages over a few months, or collaborate on an individual page, often with an image or text poem."

Art historian, Dr. Sophia Kidd, describes the experience:

"As we peruse a colored piece of acetate, or fragment of aluminum, when we find dried berries, jingling bells or burlap, or even a bit of yellow cloth from a Christo umbrella, we are initiated into a given material culture, with unique social and historical dimension. The artist’s material existence turns between our fingers. We imagine ways in which artists wrestle with material properties, or luck out, discovering something new about printed cellophane or dirt from the New York boroughs. 

As a contributor to Art/Life prepared each month’s submission of artwork, he or she made 200 “original permutations” of the same piece, adhering to 8 1/2ʺ × 11ʺ format, sending them to Cardella before the 15th of each month. “No one could be late,” Cardella says, “only early for the next issue” 

ARTLIFE Limited Editions has made its way into the collections of renowned museums -- The Getty, New York Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Art -- and in archives, museums and libraries throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. At one time, ARTLIFE was the best selling periodical at the Guggenheim Museum bookstore in Soho, New York.

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