Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for June, 2009

Brave New WurzelWorld®

by Suzanne on June 5th, 2009

The other day, on my weekly trip downtown to the world of commercial enslavement Forbidden Planet, I took a little detour to Borders and realised something that I want to share with you today:

From the hundreds of art mags on offer, maybe 2% manage to get the subtle harmony between form and function, content and advertising, humour and seriousness, right.

In my opinion these are namely: Cabinet, Parkett, Soda, Miser & Now, Garageland, Modern Painters, The Art Newspaper and maybe - if I'm in a very good mood - Frieze.

From my perspective, the rest is normally:

a) pretty much replaceable from a journalistic and editorial point of view and basically just a huge waste of paper and ink

b) way too expensive

c) written for and edited by vacuous hipster art scum who buy and write about art because it's "collectable" and "recession-proof". Publishing a mag seems a "lifestyle choice" to them. In London, these people often have a stall at Spitalfields Market because it's so damn cool to sell buffalo skulls and torn American flags to a public who'll buy anything that looks like the interior of AllSaints. Hell yeah! o_O

d) written for and edited by the same vacuous hipster art scum who think that they have to put fashion editorials into art mags. Fashion IS NOT art. Unless it's designed by Vivienne Westwood and/or contains a lot of leather and uniforms of course.

e) too much influenced by sponsors and ads (hello, Artforum?!)

So for the past few years, I've been thinking about the perfect publication that could potentially achieve the harmonisation of form and function that I mentioned above and I have yet to find such a publication outside the creative, inventive and insanely driven indie zine culture. Yet, I want my publication to be more formal and more like a themed art almanac and therefore it looks like I'll have to do it myself.

Here are the core elements of the WurzelAlmanacs™ For a Brighter Tomorrow®:

- Publications will be a hybrid between a mag and a book - something to put in your bookshelf (i.e. decorated spines et al.) and enjoy with a cup of Earl Grey rather than a coffee table publication to impress your friends with. Basically, something that could be a present to someone you know very well and like very much. An art mag's mag - an überartmag, so to speak. I'll get Nietzsche to write the editorial.

- Issues will be more like volumes and they'll be themed. This is probably the main aspect of this project since what actually annoys me most about art & culture mags is the multitude of apparently random, badly interlinked subjects. Wurzeltod® will offer a more structured German approach to this - Ordnung macht frei! I'm a highly organised person so I want to give you an organised publication with indexes, footnotes and all this nifty academic crap I actually left uni for. So yes, it will be quite cerebral. Written by and for art fiends - i.e a very focussed readership which I probably all know by name. The first volume will be themed around Porcellana Nervosa and will be an ode to my fascination for modern porcelain/glass art.

- Each volume will present maybe 20 artists who have been working on a certain theme or in a specific material over a period of time. They'll all be given exactly the same space - hey, I'm Swiss and direct democracy is great fun! There will be images, detail views, exact specifications of the works featured, descriptive/analytic/experimental texts to each piece and artist and an interview. Then we'll have an empty page to reflect/breathe/put the kettle on/test the smoke alarm/ring the dentist because that horrific pain just won't go away and then it goes to the next feature. Basically: Neat, tidy, informative and unpretentious. Think Gestalten Publications who have been creating heavenly books for gods for the past few years.

- Exclusive artworks - screenprinted, numbered and signed by talented folks - will be in some of the volumes. Obviously only when this makes sense. For the porcellana, taxidermia issues etc. that would make little sense, but volumes with 2D art themes will definitely have exclusive pieces in them and even though they'll be small in size, they'll be epic in style, yo! 'Tis something I've learned from many discussions with the great folks behind Milk & Wodka: Screenprint for victory!

- Ads? Hmm.. I don't know. On one hand, I work full-time, I have no savings and all my earnings go towards rent and that stuff from Iceland they call "food", so ads would make financial sense, I guess. On the other hand: Ads are ugly and distract from content. So maybe there will be removable ads - maybe stickers or something that people could remove from the mag and stick on their granny's bum? I think everyone would be a winner.

- There will be exhibitions. Yes, exhibitions - each following the theme of a volume. Wooohooooo! Probably here in London, probably in the East End because I love this city and there are some great places here and even though most folks use opening receptions to get free booze these days, I still love the wacky art crowd here. And let's face it - it's recession, pubs are expensive, times are desperate, MPs buy designer duck houses with your hard earned cash, so you'll all be welcomed to get pissed, take all your clothes off and whatever else catches your fancy. Just don't frighten the artworks.

So yeah.. that's what's been on my mind for the past few years and I thought it was about time to outline these thoughts to you guys because you probably think I spend all my days in opium dens.

Feel free to contact me if you have an ardent interest in and vast knowledge of art or art history and want to contribute as a writer, interviewer, etc., but please bear in mind that this is all still in its very early stages.

Anyway, gracias for reading - gotta go to the opium den now.

x

Suzanne