Stella Tennant by Mario Testino. Fashion Editor James Valeri.
Binx by Roe Ethridge. Fashion Editor Robbie Spencer.
Saskia by Collier Schorr. Fashion Editor James Valeri.
Tom of Finland by Peter Marino.
DAria by Richard Price. Fashion Editor James Valeri.
Document. What we have. What we do. Create and collect and trade keepsakes, images and stories set down in print, a pleasure and a joy for the senses. The thrill of the page, thick between fingers that turn one after another; the inks spilled lavishly into rich and evocative pictures; the stories told by craftsmen of the word; the best magazines are collections that embody the spirit of the era, a feeling of the times, an energy that inspires and realizes the greatness of life.
Partners in publishing, Nick Vogelson and James Valeri understand this, and have realized it in Document Journal, a twice-yearly volume that allows artists full creative expression. All the world is a stage, cast upon the page in a wild and wonderful creative collective that the publishers describe as a family, includes Jack Pierson, Vince Aletti, Maripol, and Bruce Benderson, Richard Prince, Isa Genzken, Michael Cunningham, Hilton Als, Maripol, and Vince Aletti, among many others. Every story told is a history of our time, a look at the way in which that print, images of who we are and how we live, stories of what is happening, what it all means—these things situate us in the here and now, while transporting us to other realms. Document recognizes this.
Now celebrating their second anniversary, Document has become one of the premier publications where art and fashion become one. The latest issue, No. 5, features six different covers that pair the leading fashion models with top photographers including: Stella Tennant/Mario Testino, Saskia De Brauw/Collier Schorr, Daria Werbowy/Richard Prince, Binx Walton/Roe Ethridge, Raquel Zimmermann/Fabien Baron, and Edie Campbell/Richard Bush.
As Vogelson observes, “It’s amazing how many people are supportive if you give them total creative freedom. As editors, we play a curatorial role. We go to people because we love what they do. We become a vessel for the contributor’s vision. Collier Schorr has shot a cover for us every season. She has such a vision the pictures are so thought out. This is fashion from an art perspective.”
Issue No. 5, takes a fresh and provocative approach to the medium of the fashion magazine. As Vogelson and Valeri write in their Editors’ Letter, “We’re asked our amazing contributors to celebrate the journey we’ve been sharing together with our readers. Instead of giving answers, they initiated a process that has made us even more curious: that of generating eternal questions about existence. Beauty and creativity are the nutrients of life, the never-ending ending engine—they make us grow, question ourselves and others, pushing the ever-changing human experience.
“For this issue we wanted to ask questions, and we did that with the help of artist Gregg Bordowitz and his book Volition [originally published by Printed Mater in 2009, now available as an e-book through Badlands Unlimited].” Some of those questions include, “What does it mean to be an artist in the 21st century? In what sense am I original? Is it possible for an inanimate object to say anything? Is it possible for an object to possess feeling? How is possession felt and feeling possessed?”
Bordowitz’s questions are brilliantly paired with fashion stories, allowing us to meditate on the words while considering the visuals, creating a new understanding of the idea, the photograph, the fashion and their intrinsic relationship to the work of art as a whole. For example, Document poses Bordowitz’s question, “Are all these questions the urgent concerns of art?” alongside a fashion spread by Richard Prince and James Valeri.
Prince, who is no stranger to controversy himself, has always been one to unspeakingly pose questions about the nature of art itself. His work frequently asks us to consider what the role of the artist is: are they creator, co-opter, or something else? His photographs never give answers, but only offer more questions for us to consider. Just as we look at his work for Document with the understanding Prince never shoots fashion stories, we wonder, “Is this fashion? Do we need labels? Are labels an urgent concern?”
As Vogelson and Valeri note in the Editor’s Letter, such questions are right on time: “In an era when everyone seems to be looking for answers, we feel the real attention should be focused on questions, a seed for consciousness.”
That seed is planted in the pages throughout the magazine, with an incredible mélange of stories that include poems by Glenn O’Brien, a conversation between Susanne Bartsch and Joey Arias, a sumptuous collection of portraits by fashion illustrator Cédric Rivrain, and the rescued fashion diaries of Stephen Sprouse, with a text by Debbie Harry.
Every issue of Document sells out its print run. As Vogelson notes, “It’s hard to know how a print publication will do. We’re very lucky to get such a good response. Up until now, the focus has been on the magazine but we’re shifting now to create a beautiful web experience that launches this December, covering stories like Art Basel and providing Document agendas. The website will provide daily content and present stories that are more timely. The website will act as a balance to the magazine, which is something collective that you can keep on the coffee table for six months. The website will provide more service stories that wouldn’t work in the magazine.”
This complementary approach to storytelling is a hallmark of Document itself, which keeps itself open to possibility, to the energy that art unleashes upon the page, to the way that print has become a keepsake, treasury, and repository of our age. And in this way, Document echos Vogelson's words, "Chic is timeless."
Portraits by Cedric Rivrain.
Binx by Roe Ethridge. Fashion Editor Robbie Spencer.
Nadja by Max Farago. Fashion Editor James Valeri.