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Full details of everything we’re looking for are provided below…
DEGENERATE ART is a literary journal inspired by the visual arts.
It’s that simple.
Sure, but what does that mean in practice?
It means that we publish short stories, flash fiction, novel excerpts (so long as they work as a standalone piece), creative-non-fiction (including reviews and theory), and poetry (although we do not claim to be poetry experts!) – or indeed anything else, be it traditional or experimental – that represents a written encounter with art.
So what do you mean by the visual arts?
We don’t want to be overly prescriptive here, but that would certainly include painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, photography, video art, performance art, conceptual art, and so on – including art forms not yet named or invented.
Are you seeking submissions of art too?
Not at present. In the first instance, each issue of DEGENERATE ART will be illustrated with a selection of carefully-curated images from some of the world’s greatest art collections, using images consciously placed in the public domain by the institutions themselves and free of all copyright restrictions.
Ok, I think I get it, but how about some examples?
Our brief means we might feature…
- A short story. This could be written about, or from the perspective of, an artist – plenty of great stories have been down the years. But art isn’t all about the artist and we’re interested in a variety of viewpoints. So how about short stories featuring a curator, a life model, an art student, a gallery cleaner, an archivist, an invigilator, a critic, or any of the countless others who feature in the wider ecosystem of “the art world”? How about a short story revolving around a canvas, or a camera, or a room in an art school? For fiction, think Art Work by A.S. Byatt, Utz by Bruce Chatwin, Luster by Raven Leilani, or Body Parts by Eliza Clark.
- A creative non-fiction or critical theory piece inspired by an encounter with an artwork/exhibition/body of work. This could be a traditional review (although publishing delays mean you should write for the historic record, not as an active recommendation to visit) or something more experimental. The work concerned could be classic, modern, contemporary, or indeed something entirely imaginary. For non-fiction, think Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag, or Everything Is Happening: Journey into a Painting by Michael Jacobs.
- A piece of autofiction or memoir describing an artistic practice, or your engagement with a single work of art, an exhibition, collection, or other body of art. Think of the critic Robert Hughes revisiting Goya in the light of his own near-fatal car accident.
- An excerpt from classic literature. We will also draw upon historic works which have been placed in the public domain as a contrast to our largely contemporary focus. Think of Stendhal “absorbed in the contemplation of sublime beauty”, suffering “palpitations of the heart” and walking “with the fear of falling” when visiting Florence.
… but it could also be many other things! These are just examples and we’re excited to see the unexpected directions our contributors take us in.
And what format will this all take?
We currently publish twice a year – in Spring and Autumn (aka Fall for our North American friends).
Our first issues will be digital-only – individual pieces of writing will be available via our website, and fully-designed issues as downloadable and shareable PDFs.
In the not-too-distant future, we hope to transition into beautiful print editions at least once a year.
Ultimately, if it’s writing inspired by the visual arts, we’re interested.
If you are writing from a perspective which is currently under-represented in such writing – be that through geography, race, class, disability, sexuality, or any other dimension – then we’re even more interested.
Of our two-word title, we confess that Art is the more significant element than Degeneracy. We do not demand that work be particularly debauched (although you are very welcome to submit it to us if it is). Our secret aim is to reclaim and repurpose the phrase “degenerate art” from its historic abuse – we want to show art and the art world in all its colours and textures, inspirational and infuriating all at once.
Of course, if it helps to use our title as a motivation – to explore art as anti-fascist practice, the broader moral dimensions of art (through satire, manifesto, or personal experience), or even the concept of how art can be generated and de-generated – then please be our guest.
Most importantly: we want to read your work!
Please note that:
- All submissions are read without looking at names or bios.
- We do not take into account past publishing credits, nor expect you to have any.
- We pledge to always be open, honest, appreciative and constructive with those submitting their work for our consideration.
- We will treat all work – but especially if it relates to the writer’s own lived experience – with care and sensitivity.
- Where possible and/or necessary, we will work with writers to help develop their work to meet its full potential.
Right now, DEGENERATE ART is run not so much as a not-for-profit operation as a minimising-our-losses one, so regrettably our only payment at present will be two complimentary issues for any featured contributor (including limited edition print copies of PDF-only public releases), but as DEGENERATE ART establishes itself in future we hope to be able to compensate all those featured more generously.
We will consider prose submissions of up to 8,000 words (either as a single piece or up to 3 shorter pieces up to a combined total of 8,000 words) of fiction or creative non-fiction.
We do not consider ourselves poetry experts, but if you think your poem(s) the perfect fit for the DEGENERATE ART brief (Musée des Beaux Arts by W.H. Auden would be a great example from the past), then please do submit – we would love to read. Please submit up to a maximum of 5 poems.
We are not seeking submissions of artwork at present, but we hope to feature original work from emerging artists in DEGENERATE ART in future issues.
We positively encourage simultaneous submissions – in fact, we can’t think of any excuse for not allowing simultaneous submissions – but of course please do let us know if your work has been accepted elsewhere while it is still under consideration by us.
DEGENERATE ART is an English language publication. All submissions must be predominantly written in English (and translation provided for non-English passages as appropriate). If the work submitted is your own translation of someone else’s work, we need to know that you have permission from the original author to offer the work to be published.