Monday, March 23, 2009

Noticed: The Art of Glamour and Vogue

In my recent browses across airport magazine racks (to me, such browsing is one of the the top benefits of air travel), I noticed that some serious art is making its way into classic beach reads like Glamour and Vogue.

In its April issue, Vogue runs an article on the Francis Bacon exhibition that is soon coming to New York. (I was wondering, as a sidenote, when these sorts of preview pieces would start appearing, given the exhibition's monthslong run in London and Madrid. Guess it's now.) But rather than just look at Bacon, writer Dodie Kazanjian does short profiles in a few different artists, asking them what they think of Bacon's work. Kazanjian also did a good profile of new Met Museum director Thomas Campbell a couple of months back for the mag, and, to be fair, has been covering art for the magazine for some time. Still, it's hard to think of Bacon's work perhaps being picked for its relevance to the "Shape Issue" -- where the focus is dressing "curves" and "petites", not shopping for "melting chunks of gnarly scary Bacon-flesh"? I don't mean to be snooty, quite the opposite. I guess I'm just wondering how Vogue decides which art to cover, what they think is appropriate to their market.

Perhaps more of a surprise, even, was opening the more mass-market mag Glamour and seeing work from Marilyn Minter, Kara Walker, Tracy Emin and other strong contemporaries. It's the mag's 70th anniversary and they asked these artists to each present one of their works on the theme of "glamour." Cheesy concept, but great to see works by these women reaching into the supermarket checkout rack audience. Also super is Walker's quote on how beauty acts as a veil over meaning, which runs alongside her sort of overtly ugly pencil sketch of a woman kissing skeletons. Must be seen and savoured in that ladymag context, for sure.

Image of Marilyn Minter's Chewing Pink 2008--which I think is the piece that ended up in Glamour--from


tinku said...

I've seen some great art features in Vogue for a while now, but Glamour is most definitely a surprise.

Leah Sandals said...

You're right, Amrita. It was Glamour that put me over the top on this post! And I guess I was used to single-artist or profile pieces in Vogue but not asking so many artists about one thing.

I wonder how much of an influence W Mag's Art Issue has had in this respect?

Unknown said...

Vogue is always about Flesh, and its seductions and power. Thus Bacon seems a natural. The preference for types of flesh is secondary. I remember looking at the reclining nude this morning and thinking at first "expressionistic oysters." Something wet and open and forbidden. So Vogue, don't you think?

Leah Sandals said...

Hey there,
Well, certainly could be a good fit... but Vogue ladies tend to be a little dressed up than the average oyster, I find.