When Obieg was launched in 1987, its name was a reference to the ‘third circuit’ [polish: trzeci obieg], a term used to describe alternative milieus and ideas situated outside the binary division in the state-controlled media and underground publications of the political opposition (the ‘second circuit’ as it was known). As a reference to this third domain as it was construed, Obieg was meant to ‘serve as an information guide and a platform for exchanging information about art, which at that time had no other place for publication except in samizdat . . . and to point out the necessity of creating a legal, yet alternative, circuit of information and texts about art’.  Since then, the Polish socioeconomic sphere and Polish art have undergone sweeping changes, which have been actively followed by the magazine – whether as a bulletin, a print periodical or an internet platform.
Obieg was founded in 1987 as a small guide on contemporary art published by the Academy of Motion [Akademia Ruchu]. Since 1990, it has been published by CCA Ujazdowski Castle; in the 1990s, Obieg appeared first as quite a large print magazine, then as a bimonthly journal. Up until 1993, Piotr Rypson was its editor-in-chief, and then, as of 1994, the position was taken over by Grzegorz Borkowski. In 2001, the printed issues of Obieg were published together with Arts Magazine, edited by Ryszard Ziarkiewicz and Grzegorz Borkowski. In 2002, the magazine’s publication was suspended for financial reasons. In May 2004, the publication of the print version of Obieg magazine was resumed (it was published until 2010 as a quarterly journal), and in November 2004, it went online. The editors-in-chief of the resumed Obieg magazine were Grzegorz Borkowski (until the end of 2015) and Adam Mazur (until the end of 2011).