Aspen Magazine: 1965-1971

By Stephanie Rebick | Posted on September 20th, 2012

I love beautifully designed magazines — my house is completely overrun with the latest issues of my favourite publications. I’m attracted to magazines that push the envelope of design and are interested in the objectness of the periodical, and I’m consistently impressed that the magazine seems to have become a forum for experimentation in typography, layout and printing. I’m always excited when I see a magazine receiving the exhibition treatment at a notable institution and a new exhibition that has recently opened at the Whitechapel Gallery has me ready to pack my bags and head immediately to London. Aspen Magazine: 1965-1971 explores the history of the absolutely epic, and extremely rare, 1960s magazine that is a cult favourite among design aficionados. While there were only ten issues published, Aspen changed the face of magazine publishing and included collaborations with the most influential cultural figures of the era. One of the first interdisciplinary culture magazines, Aspen was the brainchild of editor Phyllis Johnson who secured a different cultural figure to edit and determine the direction of each issue. With contributions from the likes of Andy Warhol, Lou Reed, Yoko Ono, William S. Burroughs, Robert Rauschenberg and Susan Sontag, Aspen is an amazing document of such a pivotal and transitional moment in cultural history. Aspen was far more than a typical magazine and, issued in box, included film reels, phonograph recordings and printed ephemera. All ten issues, including the Pop issue designed and directed by Warhol, are on display in the exhibition along with documentary material and all the original audio and film clips that were produced for the issues. On until March 3, 2013, this exhibition is not to be missed.


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