Alright, so I'm getting my wisdom teeth removed on Thursday. Let's celebrate by looking at a few issues of Rhythm, Camera Work, and The Dome. Seeing as how they make extensive use of images, I want to focus on those for the most part.
Rhythym only had 14 issues published, so I looked at issues 1, 7, and 14, in an effort to gain a general understanding of Rhythm's life as a publication. Volume 1, Number 1 is very worried about detail and how it is used. In particular to the drawings, this issue is very concerned about being able to give adequate detail to the whole image. "Study" by Othon Friesz is our first full page image, and you can see that the character's worker-qualities (its strength, muscle mass, rounded shoulders, broad feet and hands) are emphasized over its face. In fact, it looks as though the figure could be wearing a mask, which highlights the replaceability of the worker-classes. The next image we have is by Picasso, in which we get two women whose faces are very detailed, but their clothing is barely outlined. Issue 7 seems to be following the same general focus, going as far as Picasso's piece focusing only on a wounded soldier's hands and his bandaged head. The rest of his body is a thin, ragged outline. Issue 14 is no different, though there are quite a bit more nude drawings. The nudity is not as pronounced as the woman's face, so while the women are are an edenic landscape, the focus is on their beauty and not their body.
In Camera Work, I went for the same broad sampling. They are largely worried with establishing photography as an artform in itself, and as such give quite a bit of space to people calling it such. The pictures they include are rather haunting by today's standards (the black and white images help with that), but I'd like to have seen more. For a journal that is called Camera Work, there is decidedly little of it on display. The question here is if the journal does enough to establish photography as an art form.
In The Dome, I think the biggest difference is that they don't offer any "apology" or "introduction" section to their journal. It is entirely focused on the art, and offers no defense because there isn't anything to defend. The question is, then, if that is enough. Can you simply present a journal of nothing but your era's art and stand aside, because your job's done now? Is any period's art good enough to do that? Or is The Dome being a little presumptuous?
I think a larger question these journals can drag to the surface about archives is if an archive has to defend or describe their rationale for allowing items into their collection. The Dome certainly does not think an explanation is necessary, but Camera Work and Rhythm and many other journals that I've interacted with do. Do archives have to answer to anyone? Archives are doing all of the work in collating and protecting these pieces, so why do they have to explain why they chose one thing over another?