“Our cover has always been really important. For those of you who haven’t seen it…Charles Burns, who is a graphic artist, does four portraits, so it’s split into quadrants and there’s four heads, basically—portraits of people. We’ve actually often thought and freaked out, what if something happened to Charles Burns? Because he’s so identified with the cover of our magazine, I don’t know what we would do if anything happened to Charles Burns.”
“In deciding how a picture should look, in preferring one exposure to another, photographers are always imposing standards on their subjects,” wrote Susan Sontag in On Photography. “Although there is a sense in which the camera does indeed capture reality, not just interpret it, photographs are as much an interpretation of the world as paintings and drawings are.” But what about when the subject is the photographer, with his or her face jutting into the frame alongside a painting, drawing, or other work of art? Then you’ve entered the meta-interpretative world of the #artselfie. The keen cultural observers over at DIS Magazine peg the birth of this self-portrait-with-artwork phenomenon, now ubiquitous at most any museum or gallery exhibition, to 2012, “right as the recent photographic phenomenon known as the selfie reached its tipping point.” Having seized upon the #artselfie as an “aggregated mode of art-tourism and documentation” with a dedicated Tumblr, DIS teamed with Mathieu Cénac and David Desrimais‘s Jean Boîte éditions to publish a book full of them. Recently feted at Galerie Yvon Lambert in Paris, the volume includes an introduction by Douglas Coupland and a discussion between Swiss Institute director Simon Castets and DIS. Order a copy here and then take a photo of yourself reading it for an #artselfieselfie.
Cubes, the MediabistroTV series that takes you inside top media companies, got a tour of the venerable New York magazine recently. The chronicler of all things New York, which now boasts some of the top news, food, fashion and culture sites around, is nestled next to the Holland Tunnel. Stella Bugbee, editorial director of The Cut, shows you the wellness room, fashion closet, and an area affectionately called Scriberia.
A birthday comes but once a year, as does the ArtReview Power 100. The two tend to coincide for ubergallerist David Zwirner, who has two reasons to celebrate today: his fiftieth birthday [insert Kusama-dotted sheet cake here] and clinching the number-two spot on this year’s Power 100, which appears in ArtReview’s November issue (on newsstands today). Zwirner is outranked only by Tate director Nicholas Serota, who has held onto the top slot since the London-based magazine’s list debuted in 2002. The mind boggles at the power to be concentrated when Zwirner artist Marlene Dumas’s retrospective opens at Tate Modern in February.
Rounding out the Power 100’s top ten is Zwirner’s former partner in erstwhile Zwirner & Wirth, Ivan Wirth (#3), MoMA director Glenn Lowry (#4), and Marina Abramović (#5), who the magazine describes as a “performance artist turned celebrity inspirer and admirer.” At #6, Serpentine Gallery directors Hans Ulrich Obrist and Julia Peyton-Jones come down a peg from 2013, while Jeff Koons’s stellar year zooms him up to #7, just ahead of Larry Gagosian (#8), Marian Goodman (#9), and Cindy Sherman (#10).
“This story [for the June/July 2014 issue of Vogue Paris] began with Inez [van Lamsweerde] and me exchanging images by e-mail. Sometimes it comes from almost nothing; it might just be a color. When you’re shooting in the sun—you know that strong blue sky in St. Barths—you need a contrast. So I might say, ‘What do you think about red and white?’ And Inez is like, ‘Oh, yeah, sure!’ I’ll send a picture of a red shoe and a René Gruau illustration, which is full of red, and just a silhouette or a little sketch. It’s not always photographs—often it’s a painting or a frame-grab from a YouTube film. Very quickly, we’ll start to build up an image of a woman, and then we can discuss the casting. Some photographers will keep changing their casting or think they need a stronger idea. But Inez isn’t someone who hesitates. It’s like three phone calls and everything is booked.”
-Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt in an interview with Penny Martin, editor of The Gentlewoman, that appears in the latest, fashion-themed issue of Aperture
“I’ll probably be most remembered for putting dots over people’s faces, so its funny to do an issue devoted to the selfies of famous people,” says John Baldessari, who has applied his signature “color interventions” to a suite of celebrity self-portraits for the latest issue of Visionaire. The sixty-fourth incarnation of the shape-shifting publication, creating in partnership with Samsung, is now available in three editions—Red, Green, and Blue—each with a distinct set of portraits tucked in a canvas-clad portfolio that folds out to become a display case. After meeting with Baldessari in his Venice Beach studio, Visionaire founders Cecilia Dean and James Kaliardos recruited the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Cameron Diaz, Miley Cyrus, Marina Abramovic, KAWS, Bill Cunningham, and Gisele Bündchen to contribute self-portraits that were printed in black and white and then altered with embossed shapes and colors created by Baldessari. The resulting images range from the exotic (as when a turbaned Lupita Nyong’o gains a second chapeau in a floating, noseless face) to the serene (the clasped hands of Ed Ruscha, amidst a yellow orb and swoosh of orange). “Now we live in an age of self-celebration and constant surveillance in which nearly everyone carries some form of camera,” notes Dean. “It seems ironic and hilarious that an artist so famous for putting dots over people’s faces would devote an issue to the technology that celebrates face-time.”
Lisa Martin started at InStyle in 1999 as a freelance photo editor. Fifteen years and several promotions later she is director of photography at the Time Inc. magazine-cum-media brand, which prides itself on “delivering the knowledge and confidence to make the everyday fabulous.” On the occasion of InStyle‘s 20th anniversary mega-issue, Martin (pictured at right, sailing in St Barts while on a shoot with cover girl Cameron Diaz) took a break from overseeing the photo department, hiring photographers and stylists, and conceptualizing photo shoots to tell us about some of her favorite images, how she views the magazine’s signature aesthetic, and more.
What are a few of your favorite images from the September fall fashion/20th anniversary issue?
There are so many outstanding pictures in our September issue that I love, but the beauty story we did with Haley Bennett (below), shot by Jan Welters, was extraordinary. It was one of those shoots when all the pieces come together—the makeup artist, Wendy Rowe, achieved beautiful, clean skin texture with subtle neutral tones on Haley’s eyes and lips; the lighting was beautiful; and the styling, perfect. I don’t wear makeup, but if I did, I would try those makeup looks.
How do you describe the aesthetic or visual signature of InStyle?
Our visual aesthetic is sophisticated but accessible—the photos are rich in texture and color, so readers want to linger and look at them, especially because they’re inspired by what they see. Our fashion looks luxurious—and in many cases, it is—but it also looks like clothing you would want to wear. We want to make images that are modern and iconic while celebrating the recent fashion trends and celebrities.
How have you seen that aesthetic change over the 15 years you’ve been at the magazine?
InStyle was the first magazine to give readers access to the stars’ everyday lives, seen through a lens of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. Now, we’ve evolved into a luxury fashion brand—we went from shooting lifestyle and home stories to creating beautiful fashion and beauty stories in the well. We’ve also broadened our photography roster to include more fashion photographers. In addition, there’s a huge front-of-book section and in the back of the book there’s the “Life Etc.” section, with incredible food and lifestyle photography. We give the InStyle reader 360-degree celebrity access.
The September issue of Elle Decor arrived in a flourish of silvery hues and starchitect selfies, looking ahead to the future of design with no fear of the past (or of a bold red armchair). At the editorial helm of the Hearst shelter magazine is Michael Boodro, who predicts that over the next quarter century, “the print version of the magazine will become more of a luxury object and we’ll see increases in e-edition sales. I think people will continue to turn to Elle Decor for inspiration and resources. We’re always going to have a passion for finding new talent and peoples’ homes will continue to be a refuge that reflects their tastes.” We managed to catch Boodro between the September issue unveiling and the launch of the magazine’s new book to chat about the big 2-5, what he read this summer, and the best advice Anna Wintour ever gave him.
Elle Decor turns 25 this year. How are you celebrating?
We have celebrated throughout the year with special stories looking back, but it all culminates with our big 25th anniversary issue, out now. It is full of projects by quintessential Elle Decor designers, including Steven Gambrel and Darryl Carter, as well as a celebration of silver—the traditional 25th anniversary gift—and a special section on the future of design, because Elle Decor has always looked ahead and sought out new talents. We also have our third book, The Height of Style: Inspiring Ideas from the World’s Chicest Rooms, coming out later this month [September 16] from Abrams.
How do you describe the editorial mission/philosophy of the magazine?
I actually think our most important mission is to inspire. Sure, we want to keep our readers informed as to the latest projects and trends, but our readers are passionate about design, and they want to know the stories behind the room, behind the product. They are just as interested in design history as in what is new. They are open to new ideas and want to see all kinds of interiors from around the world—even if it’s not the way they want to live themselves. We try to keep them engaged and surprised, on everything from interiors to art to food to travel.
“Genuine science-fiction art performs a social function for a tight-knit, ninety-year-old community. It exists to enable its viewers to achieve and maintain their highly valued otherworldly state of let’s pretend. Sci-fi art is a form of realist genre painting, like aviation art, like natural-history painting. Its cousins are comics and game design and set design, disciplines that prefer certain conventions to be respected: Comics fans require the canon, gamers like to enter the game world and play, theatergoers need set design as the backdrop of performance. Art that is too heavily freighted breaks the suspension of disbelief and leaves the sci-fi fan with the awkward realization that Martians have better taste than he does. [Omni publisher Bob] Guccione‘s effort to class-up sci-fi art was like trying to break-dance in a Vegas tuxedo, but he never saw the solecism there. Although he had a few veteran sci-fi illustrators within his mag—Michael Whelan, Frank Fazetta, Tim White, and glitzy-robot maestro Hajime Sorayama—it’s clear that these accomplished sci-fi professionals caught Guccione’s roving eye almost by accident.”
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