ArtMag has been on hiatus due to my recent move. As I find new places for my belongings and begin to decorate my apartment, I am reminded of one of my very favorite magazines: Nest.
Nest was a quarterly magazine of interiors, published from 1997 to the winter of 2003/2004. Each issue of Nest is a feat of creativity and design. Just glancing at the covers, with their yellow spines, gives you a glimpse of the amazing design choices made by editor Joseph Holtzman and his staff. One issue has holes punched through it, another issue is inside of a clear zipper bag, one has scalloped edges, one is bound with red string, and others have embossed paper and glitter. No shortcuts were taken in producing Nest, and each cover is just as elaborate as the interiors and lifestyles contained within. Some of my favorite covers include issue no.4(1999:spring) which is a photograph of cats inside of a bedroom, their litter boxes sprinkled with copper glitter and issue no.21(2003:summer) which has a colorful collaged image on the front and scalloped edges.
But now to get to the interior of Nest. Besides the wonderful covers, excellent design decisions, and fancy paper, Nest is unique because it isn’t just a magazine about the spaces of the rich and famous. The articles span a wide variety of people and places. In issue no.4 there is an article with photographs of Cy Twombly‘s mansion alongside an article about a man who lives in a junkyard near the MetroNorth tracks in Harlem.
One of my favorite articles, in the summer 2001 issue, shows the interior of Ft. Thunder‘s space in Providence, R.I. The photographs of their space show walls completely plastered with trash, grafitti, stickers, posters, photographs, etc. It’s like a treehouse junkyard. One photograph shows their screen-printing setup and in the same spread is a photograph of two members of Ft. Thunder dressed head to toe in knitted outfits: stockings, tunics, and masks. The rehearsal space where bands like Lightning Bolt practiced is also shown, as well as a room with hundreds of stuffed animals hanging down from the ceiling. At some point in 2001 the warehouse space was destroyed by developers, but the funky feel of their space lives on in the pages of this issue of Nest.
In the winter of 2003/2004, editor Joseph Holtzman wrote at the beginning of Nest that he was in a psychiatric hospital and that this issue would be his last. When The New York Times reported on the demise of the magazine, they wrote that Mr. Holtzman had spent somewhere between 4-6 million dollars on Nest. Although he had hoped it would be profitable, it never was. And, although he was wealthy enough to keep the magazine afloat, he claimed he had run out of ideas and energy. You have to have respect for someone who quits when they are on top and every issue of Nest is a testament to that.
If you miss the excitement of reading the latest issue of Nest, Apartamento is a great contemporary. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of Nest, but is refreshingly simple in it’s design and just the right size for reading in transit. In an earlier issue of my blog I wrote a review of Apartamento, which published it’s first issue last summer. In a similar fashion to Nest, Apartamento is “an everyday life interiors magazine.” Unfortunately the most recent issue, no.3(2009:spring) is already sold out! And it’s hard to find in the United States. So if you have purchased Apartamento in the U.S., leave a comment and let us know where we might be able to find it. I bought my copy of issue no.2 at Motto Berlin.
Another fun place to look at interiors in on the webstie: The Selby. Created by fashion photographer Todd Selby, The Selby is all pictures, with barely any content. It is an engrossing glimpse at the interiors of the rich and famous. (The photograph below taken by Todd Selby is of Melia Mardern and Frank Sisti Jr.aka Kid America‘s bookshelf in their Manhattan apartment)
While I’m on the topic of interior spaces and homes, I wanted to mention some new venues for looking at art that are popping up in New York City. Hosting exhibitions in apartments is becoming more and more popular, especially as galleries close down and museums lay off employees. Apartmentshow NY and Melanie Flood Projects are two ongoing curatorial projects to keep an eye out for. They each represent the opposite ends of this trend. Apartmentshow NY is curated by artists Joshua Smith and Denise Kupferschmidt. For each show the two find an apartment, usually one that has been emptied out due to a move, and fill it with artwork for one night only. They have hosted performances, installations, video art, paintings, and sculpture, and have showed a wide variety of artists from Peter Coffin to Alicia Gibson. Melanie Flood Projects, on the other hand, is held in the Clinton Hill brownstone apartment of Melanie Flood. I have only been to one event in the space: March Madness. It was a low key gathering, mostly with artists selling small objects, magazines, zines, photographs, and other ephemera around the island counter in her kitchen. Events like these seem warmer, no doubt because they are in a home, whether inhabited or not.