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.
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.
May 1968-May 1981 (incomplete)
In 1956 the U.S. and Soviet governments agreed to a mutual propaganda plan modeled on Life. From them we got The USSR which became Soviet Life which became Russian Life. From us they got Amerika which became America Illustrated. “Soft” propaganda for a Cold War. Gentle cultural competition. Achievement, progress, beauty, tourism. Soviet Life could celebrate the cosmonauts and the construction of a dam as though ballistics and explosives were signs of society’s liberation. One can just imagine what Amerika looked like.
Somewhat relatedly, the U.S. Information Agency, which seems to have had a hand in all this, also employed Chermayeff & Geismar (which later added & Haviv) for a traveling Russian-language exhibition that showcased American design. Featured among the designer portraits, which can be found in the Milton Glaser Archives, was none other than Milton Glaser.
Find Soviet Life bound in green in the back near the bathrooms.