Since it feels like summer was decades ago, we took a look at summer decades ago; a sampling of our periodicals. It was hot. Once upon a time.
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.
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.
Fall 1998-Fall 2004
In the Winter 1999-2000 issue of Nest, architect and urban theorist Rem Koolhaas wrote in critical appreciation:
“Nest goes for the jugular of the secretive. Sometimes the intimacies revealed are almost voyeuristically painful. It is significant that in the era of celebrity and the relentless confessional, the glimpses of previously hidden lives that Nest reveals are shocking in their acute, slightly obscene quality. They show the extent of editing, pruning and laundering that the professional press of revelation performs before launching its “surprises” for the public. By insisting on the intricacies of private life Nest reveals the complete flattening of the public at the end of the 20th century.”
Founding editor Joseph Holtzman “believed that an igloo, a prison cell or a child’s attic room (adorned with Farrah Fawcett posters) could be as compelling as a room by a famous designer” (NYT). His relentless magazine ran for 26 issues. The SVA Library has all but the first issues (donations encouraged).
These scans don’t do its vibrancy justice.
And if beautifully published periodicals on realistic interior design (i.e. not Architectural Digest–which we also have) is your thing, have a look at Spain based Apartemento .