10/15/2013

CURATE // ART & DESIGN: Wet Magazine













































// Wet Magazine //

With a tagline like “the magazine of gourmet bathing,” a publication like this could sound either a little fetishistic or just boring. Leonard Koren’s Wet was anything but. The magazine was the site of a lot of young talent like Simpsons creator Matt Groenig and writing excerpts from Leonard Cohen and Henry Miller. The magazine was equal parts silly and serious; it was founded as a sort-of ode to “bath art,” which was an extension of Koren’s art projects at the time.

The publication espoused a sort of hippie pleasure/play lifestyle of Los Angeles in the late 70s and early 80s mixed with the emerging punk scene. Wet served as inspiration for later post modern and new wave graphic design trends. Music Editor Kristine McKenna said that Wet tended to operate largely on whim. Sometimes there was a theme like “fire” or “heroes” and sometimes it just paid homage to the literal meaning of “wet” with articles like “how to build a hot tub” or a story on the architecture of frozen water. With pieces like a photograph of a monk who’d set himself on fire as a Vietnam protest, Wet aimed to be provocative with just the right about of playfulness.

Koren, the publication’s founder, moved to Japan after the magazine shut down in 1981 (it was founded in 1976). An avid fan of Asian culture, he’s since published books like “Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers” and, wait for it, “How to Take a Japanese Bath.” Old staff members remember him as an Editor in Chief that allowed his staffers to have fun and grow whatever creative gifts they had. Wet rightfully claims its spot as one of the original purveyors of noisy, geometric, coked-out collage graphic design of the eighties.

Photo Credit: 1// FFFfound 2 // Love is Prelude to Sorrow 3 // Revel in New York

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