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Ingrid Sischy (1952–2015)

Ingrid Sischy, a former editor of Artforum, died this morning at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Sischy was named editor of the magazine in 1979 and served until February 1988, when she left to become editor of Interview Magazine, which she edited from 1989 to 1998.

Sischy guided Artforum through the tumultuous 1980s, covering artists such as Joseph Beuys, Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gilbert & George, Laurie Anderson, and Gerhard Richter. She encouraged the work of such critics as Rene Ricard, Edit deAk, Lisa Liebmann, Thomas MeEvilly, and Benjamin H.D. Buchloh. Her tenure at Artforum encompassed the rise of the East Village, the shift toward Germany and Central Europe, and the emergence of a new generation of painters and Conceptual artists, setting the stage for decades to follow.

As a writer herself, Sischy went on to contribute regularly to the New Yorker, publishing early profiles of Alexander McQueen and Robert Mapplethorpe. As a contributing editor at Vanity Fair from 1997 on, Sischy wrote features on figures ranging from Basquiat to John Galliano and Jeff Koons.

Reflecting on her work at Artforum in a September 2012 interview with the magazine, Sischy said: “The idea that an art magazine could be an object that could do something nothing else could do: That was what drove us. Somewhere in there, I think, was an intuitive understanding of what, eventually, would become the role of the Internet. But by making a magazine into a kind of object that gave you primary art, that gave you sound—well, I’m nervous to say it because I don’t want it to sound sentimental, but it was a real love letter to what an art magazine is.”