Pay-for-Coverage Magazine NY Arts Shuts Down

Abraham Lubelski performing "24 Hours and By Apporintment" at the Roger Smith Hotel, 2005

NY Arts Magazine, the notoriously sketchy publication that has been hovering around newsstands since 1995, is no more. The news comes via a New York Post article, which quotes a Portuguese painter, Maria Alves, claiming that some 80 artists are left having paid thousands of dollars to artist and publisher Abraham Lubelski for publicity they will never receive.

Having been approached by the magazine in February and shelling out $1,900 for a promotional package, Alves says that on July 17 she received word that the magazine was shuttering. “I am sad to inform you . . . that NY Arts Magazine is shutting down . . . I wish I had more information to tell you but I am in the dark myself,” a representative wrote her. Other artists claim they are missing artworks they sent to be showed in the NY Arts affiliated Broadway Gallery NYC as part of a publicity package.

For his part, Lubelski claims to be the victim of a dispute with his wife Hong Ju Zhang, who has locked him out of their apartment/gallery and is accusing him of “strangling” her. “I couldn’t go back to my home. I cannot use it as a gallery. I can’t use it to work,” Lubelski told the Post. “As soon as I can rectify things, I will rectify them.” He said he couldn’t return the artists’ money since he didn’t currently have access to his papers.

The Post story says that most of the artists owed by NY Arts reside outside of the United States. This is likely because, locally, the magazine is known as a notorious pay-for-coverage operation. For instance, artist Cara Ober has reported on her encounter with NY Arts, posting a “publicity proposal” from the organization, offering her a package of coverage for $1,200. When Ober asked about the ethics of the arrangement, she received the following:

To answer your question as to whether all the contents that you see on NY Arts Magazine’s website are consisting of artworks by artists who have paid a fee to be listed; the answer is negative dear Ober. We, as World Art Media PR Agency, have few slots available to place the artists that we promote into this context, just as into other venues as well. The NY Arts Magazine has a %85 editorial and %15 advertising and the proposal we are giving you is for an editorial slot, dear Ober, which makes it so much more valuable.

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