Critics’ Picks

Installation view, 2006.

New York

“Megazines”

Visionaire
11 Mercer Street Between Grand and Canal Streets
July 31 - November 3

A pair of white-cotton gloves is the price of admission to this magazine-junkie’s heaven, curated by Kyra Griffin, Dominic Sidhu, and Scott Meriam. Slip them on and you’re allowed to riffle through rare issues of magazines prominent and obscure, from the World War I–era Gazette du Bon Ton to just-launched style bibles. Fashion and design tomes predominate, as one would expect from a gallery associated with the limited-edition publication-cum-artwork Visionaire, though one can find art titles, from Aspen and Avalanche to Parachute and Parkett, liberally sprinkled along the wall-to-wall shelves and nestled in vitrines. The first issue of Andy Warhol’s Interview is on hand, as are early issues of Fleur Cowles’s Flair (the subject of an exhibition three summers ago at Pratt’s Fourteenth Street gallery), the Evergreen Review, and Viva. The show’s organizers rightly avoided yoking together these selections under an overarching narrative, but while browsing, one can’t help but devise one’s own. An inaugural axiom could be that persistence pays: The exhibition teems with evidence that today’s established players rose from quite humble beginnings. Another is that the current glut of glossies draws sustenance from an ever-shallower pool of subject matter—witness the recurrence of features on artist Richard Prince and local party promoters Misshapes. The beauty of this show is that after a late-summer afternoon of browsing, do-it-yourselfers might be tempted to take heart in the former and do something about the latter.