Art in America meet Juxtapoz

Art In America cover, Feb. 2006

I ran to Borders to look at the February Art in America all eager to read Michael Duncan‘s article about Bob Cozzolino‘s “With Friends” exhibit at Chazen Art Museum. One of those artists, Gertrude Abercrombie, is included in the Art in Chicago exhibit at PAFA, by the way).

While browsing the mags I got waylaid by the current issue of Juxtapoz. I am shocked, shocked to see that the illustration and alt-comix publication is flying far afield of its usual goth cartoon or skater dude imagists like Mark Ryden and covering things that compete for AiA’s audience: Richard Serra, Thomas Hirschhorn, Patricia Piccinini, Sandow Birk, Paul McCarthy.

Juxtapoz cover, Feb. 2006

Come to think of it McCarthy, Birk and Piccinini do seem to be mining the same kind of overwrought grotesquerie that Juxtapoz’s regular stable tap into so that’s not a huge surprise. But full page spreads on Serra and Hirschhorn, now that made me sit up and think. Maybe the magizine smells blood in the very competitive waters of magazine publishing and is going for it — trying to woo a crossover audience that likes its art coverage delivered with lots of pictures. (I subscribed to AiA for years just to get those pictures — I confess to only rarely having read the articles.)

Juxtapoz on Serra

Page from Juxtapoz with the Serra spread. See it bigger at my flickr page.

Hirschhorn and Serra are dispatched in photo spreads with non-bylined commentary. But hey for commentary you go elsewhere, right? The pictures are great, especially the Serra photos: Solitary individuals spotlit from above and standing inside Serra’s circular forms look like Star Trek voyagers waiting for their beam up, thanks very much, Scottie. I don’t know who took the pix but they do for Serra something Gagosian hasn’t done–brought the artist squarely into the zone where it can be discussed in terms people can relate to — pop culture. (Libby and I saw something like them at Gagosian a few years back and I enjoyed the walk in the canyons although found the inner sanctum in the middle just an empty chamber in the middle. See post.)

Juxtapoz on McCarthy and Birk

There’s a big 4-page photo and word spread on Paul McCarthy‘s recently closed show at Whitechapel Gallery. And an even bigger spread on Sandow Birk‘s Inferno, a series of paintings and drawings and a book by the San Francisco artist whom Anna Conti told me about when we saw work of his at Catharine Clark Gallery last summer. See post).

Juxtapoz on Piccinini

Patricia Piccinini’s “The Embrace”

And stop the presses, Patricia Piccinini‘s recent show at Robert Miller Gallery gets six pages — including great big color photos of those animal-human hybrids the artist calls Mother’s Little Helpers. Story by Annie Tucker.

Piccinini’s “Surrogate” from the Mothers Little Helpers series

We’d seen one of Piccinini’s “Mothers Little Helpers” a year before at Miller. See post. And Libby saw a piece of hers at Mass MoCA. We’re both fans. And I believe we’ll get to see some of Piccinini’s Helpers at the upcoming Art in the Armory since Robert Miller’s page for that fair includes a photo of Embrace.

Juxtapoz and Zing

Anyway, I bring this up because glossy magazines that cover art seem to be proliferating like mushrooms. I wrote a feature story for the Weekly several years ago about the new (to me) art magazines. For research I bought a bunch of them and spent time looking and thinking about which, of the ones new to me were most interesting and relevant to the discussion of art I wanted. I decided that Zing magazine and Juxtapoz had the greatest potential and staying power. Interestingly the two mags represent a left coast, right coast split, Juxtapoz being the ur-California take on things (picture-rich, a little zany, biker-friendly and gossipy — sorry is that a slam at California? not meant really) and Zing being the New York you’ll take this theory and eat it kind of mag.

Both are insider-y in their own ways unlike the staid glossies which feel not insider-y but more in the time-honored tradition of let’s write for the general reader. Juxtapoz and Zing are really niche publications.

I haven’t looked at Zing in years — and had to google them to see whether they actually still exitst. Zing exists (at least their website shows they now have 20 issues under their belts.) But you won’t find them at Borders. I guess their niche is smaller than Juxtapoz’s which seems to be growing. It’s growing on me anyway.

Thoughts about the art mags anyone?