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Ingrid Sischy

Cover of Artforum February 1982. Art by Issey Miyake, 1982 Spring-Summer Collection, rattan bodice and nylon polyester skirt.

PARTIES AND OPENINGS are not my natural habitats. They inspire a dread that hovers like a dark cloud long in advance of the actual event. But there are always people who immediately relieve that kind of anxiety. They excel in intense one-on-one conversation that makes the surrounding tumult and brittleness fade away. Ingrid was one of those people. She had a gift for homing in on and reveling in shared appreciations and dismissals. She focused on both the big picture and the telling detail. She was funny, sly, and super smart. She eyed fame warily but was forcefully drawn to its siren song of visibility and exceptionalism; she took celebrity seriously. She was both a huge fan and a major bullshit detector. She knew how to work the angles and had a big chunk of respect for those who could do the same.

Ingrid and I met when we were just beginning to define ourselves within the so-called art world. Soon she was running Printed Matter when it was on Lispenard Street. I was thrilled when she invited me to do an installation in their storefront windows. This was a huge thing for me, and it was just the beginning of Ingrid’s support. She believed in my potential when almost no one else did, including me. When she took over the editorship of Artforum, she asked me to write a column on independent film that later extended to television. To be contributing to a magazine so important (and so intimidating to me as an artist) was amazing. When she moved on to Interview, she invited me to have conversations with figures as varied as Wangechi Mutu and Kenneth Cole for its pages. Her work as both an editor and a writer insistently reflected this expansive view of cultural production. Ingrid was an early adopter of the merging of the visual arts, fashion, movies, music, and architecture.

Just writing the words Ingrid was chills me. It’s so shocking that she, too, has succumbed to the disappearing act that stalks us all. How can she not be around, spinning new ideas and making seemingly crazy connections that soon prove to make total sense? How can her affectionately conspiratorial laughter and impish grin not be around somewhere, at some party or gala or editorial meeting? Like so many, I will miss her infectious enthusiasms, her huge menu of favorites and suspects, her great ambition, her long memory, her loyalty, and her tremendous capacity for friendship.

Barbara Kruger is an artist based in Los Angeles and New York.