Instead of a cigarette, enjoy a small sampling from our chronological assortment of 1000’s cigarette ads, from the 1920’s till today, currently on display on the top shelf of the picture collection.
Volume One Number One (March 1970)
The tiny American flag and big six-figure check on the first-issue cover proclaim their audacity. No kneeling to sacred cows, least of all advertising.
Warren Hinckle came from Ramparts, which published Che Guevara, Fidel Castro and Eldridge Cleaver. Sidney Zion wrote for most of the New York publications you’ve heard of, and was the one who revealed the name of the guy who leaked the Pentagon Papers.
Together their monthly ran eight issues.
The first, in our rare periodicals archive, pretends ads don’t exist, favors the extended narrative, and pushes against journalistic hypocrisy. There’s a report offering Altamont as a refutation of Woodstock, an assertion of the normalcy of atrocity in Vietnam, a tale of CBS-CIA collusion in Haiti, the American- and British-made disaster of Biafra, Mark Twain’s radicality, high school activist thought, mobster biography, and a ski champ-turned-salesman profile by Hunter S. Thompson, whose gonzo paradigm, “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved,” debuted in Scanlan’s third issue. Their last was boycotted by U.S. printers for covering domestic guerilla warfare.
“We will make no high-blown promises about how great this magazine is going to be,” Hinckle and Zion wrote on the cover. “Pay the buck and turn the page.”
We have 2 issues of Wedge, no.1(1982:summer) and no.2(1982:fall). The 10 numbers published between 1982 and 1988 represent the entire run. Some issues were published in combined form; no issues were published for fall 1983, spring 1984-fall 1984, summer 1985-1987. They have the following subject headings in our catalog, the links for which you can follow to other material in our catalog with the same assigned subject heading:
Each issue had a distinct title. You can see the title for number 1 below. Number 2 was called The Spectacle.
The content includes interviews with visual artists, writers, and filmmakers, as well as essays on various art forms. They also published poetry and various writings, such as “The Thomas Crown Affair” in which Richard Prince chronicles what he did instead of going to work (which included going to the Orleans Theater to watch porno movies and a Howard Johnson’s for a meal). Below are the table of content pages.
And as a last enticement, here is an insert called the License Action by the Guerrilla Art Action Group from issue no. 1. These are business card sized and all came in a tiny envelope.
It is a highly entertaining read/browse that provides a snapshot of the early 1980’s art world.
Summer 1988 – December 1989; June 1990 – February 1991
In an archive almost everything carries the aroma of obituary. A book’s cover resembles a mausoleum door, newspapers evoke autumn leaves, a magazine’s tint becomes a mortician’s makeup. Bylines are empty chairs. In our digital realm, which seems so lively, everything passes before we’ve finished, is made to fade into the next, which is why it all gets saved.
Wig Wag is not online. The magazine lived for three years between the minor New Yorker exodus that staffed it and the first Iraq war’s recession that killed it. Founding editor Alexander Kaplen aimed gently at “A Picture of American Life,” a little literary and not too heartlandish. Wig Wag‘s “Letters From Home” could be set against The New Yorker‘s “Talk of the Town.” Terry McMillan, William Maxwell, Peter Matthiessen, Norman Rush, Sven Birkerts, Sousa Jamba, Luc Sante you’ve maybe heard of; many more you certainly haven’t. But the effort to turn from city-centrism seems more significant for its failure.
A notable tool in Wig Wag‘s kit was their “Indignites: Our monthly listing of who’s beating up on whom.” Critical briefs that don’t always read as anachronistic as we might like.
Wig wag, it was pointed out to us by poet and SVA professor Ray DiPalma, is that thing you do with flags on a runway when you’re trying to keep airplanes from crashing.