weekly feature | Mar 23, 2016 |
‘Galerie,’ oversize art-design magazine, draws on top talent for inaugural issue
Boh staff

By Katy B. Olson
While plenty of print publications have migrated online or flat-out folded, the glossy Galerie, creation of Hudson News owners Lisa and James Cohen, is upsizing. The magazine debuts next month via Hudson News, Barnes & Noble, luxury hotels like the Plaza, Carlyle and Regency, and other outlets with a circulation of 100,000 (50 percent controlled, 40 percent newsstand and 10 percent to-the-trade). Galerie will feature art and design across pages a full inch larger than Architectural Digest’s, and its interior-heavy inaugural issue boasts a reflection written by Jamie Drake; a look into François-Joseph Graf’s handbag collection; Oliver Furth's take on artist-designer-sculptor Adam Silverman; Tim Campbell’s insights on his own home; affordable Italian tabletop pieces; graffiti-influenced textiles... and the list, happily for readers, goes on.

“Art is the preeminent focal point, and design is actually influenced [by] it,” explains Cohen, who plans to publish a total of three issues this year (April, September and December) and to begin quarterly production next year. “This is the theme of this magazine: how art influences design.” Print, she says, allows that art to take center stage. “We’ve grown up with print through Hudson News, and it’s a very, very integral part of our DNA. The magazine being oversize gives you more visual impact. We really blow up the details of the design process that goes into each art and design story. We couldn’t accomplish that completely in digital.”

Helping her accomplish that is editor in chief Suzanne Slesin, founder of Pointed Leaf Press, which publishes top-quality art, design, fashion and architecture books. Cohen tapped the design journalist to helm Galerie after a lengthy search. (Pointed Leaf Press creative director Federico Farina, who brings experience at Christian Dior and Cole Haan, is also on staff. He developed this month’s wraparound cover, featuring the art-filled interior of the Cohens’ East Hampton home across both covers, including the back, usually reserved for advertisers.) Slesin, who has had editorial roles at The New York Times, House & Garden and O at Home, tells EAL, “I always felt you had to make a choice after you photograph something—what do you leave out?” Whereas Galerie, she says, is “thick... generous, interesting. I’ve always believed in interior design and interior designers, and I’ve been lucky to meet a lot of them at the beginning of their careers and given them space in House & Garden. That is what I love to do: discovering talent and knowing what a good story is.”

Some of those talents are the issue’s contributors: photographers Matt Albiani and Antoine Bootz; journalists Arlene Hirst, Wendy Moonan and Julie Lasky; and designers Penny Drue Baird and Ellen Hamilton, among others. It’s a concept by and for the creatively inclined, says Cohen. “The front of the book is like a People magazine for artists. It’s for artists, it’s for designers, it’s for anyone who has an insatiable love of art at any age—students, the wealthiest people, the poor starving artist, not just the one percent. It’s for anyone interested in the creative process and wants to feed their mind’s creativity.”

If the front of the book reads as a who’s who, the back of the book serves as a sort of an old-school telephone book for designers: It’s a detailed sources section that catalogues each of the pieces in the photos. That transparency is important to Slesin. “We’ve tried to source everything so that there are no mysteries: where the rug comes from, where the lamp comes from. We really want people to be informed, curious and not to keep secrets from them. To be open, different and optimistic.”

The concept is coming to life beyond the physical edition itself. An e-commerce venture, selling gallery-quality works of artists featured in the magazine, is planned. Proceeds from the print publication’s sales will benefit Hetrick-Martin Institute, provider of social support and programming for at-risk LGBTQ youth. And, timed with the magazine’s premiere, a collaboration with No Longer Empty, a nonprofit arts organization will transform an Upper East Side apartment in an exhibition featuring the work of artists including Barbara Bloom, Teresa Diehl, Ghost of a Dream, Misha Kahn, Jean Shin, Ena Swansea and Mickalene Thomas, who have created home-themed compositions. The exhibition will run April 18 through May 10. (For reservations, contact 212-675-4140 or bmg@fremontblueevents.com.)

Print, though, is at the heart of the discussion. Galerie is welcoming design work of all kinds, and is open to previously unpublished designers, Slesin says. “We can show many projects and we won’t make designers wait two years. We make commitments and say, ‘This is when we can run this,’ and we do it! And I think that’s very important for designers, because having finished a job, you want to get it out there, have people see it, and then move on [to the next project].”

There is one requirement, however: “The art and the interior have to go together,” says Slesin, a sentiment and philosophy Cohen shares. “We want this marriage of both worlds, so that art becomes really a part of the interior. [We’re] trying to get people to think about the artists, craftspeople and designers who are so important to creating the interior.”

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