Issue 158 | Editor's Letter

by Matthew Bedard

E d i t o r ’ s L e t t e r

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Consider the high-stakes subpoenas, pleas, and gratuitous fibs bandying about politics and media at present and do our cultural duty to respond with an art-lead issue around the theme of the aesthetically enticing Witness Protection Program. Whereas: feature art that repurposes identity or invokes alter ego, theme some pop shoots (see Wiz Khalifa on page 162 or G-Eazy on page 132) around escaping or hiding out, and commission some writing about life after the death of a former life… easy. But then I was followed. I was watched. Monitored. And my ongoing communications with the Russians (re: a bride import, of all things, nothing serious) were suddenly halted by numbers gone disconnected, people disappearing, caches gone vacant. I had to make moves.

See, we all live in a time where our every communiqué is logged somewhere for data analysis or future blackmail. We live in a time where CCTV is increasingly omnipresent, where social media stalking is the new toilet time, where publishers’ fashion credit reports for luxury conglomerates arrive in nondescript manila folders and spell life or death, where only black is worn to awards galas because, to quote artist Jenny Holzer, “abuse of power comes as no surprise.”

And they’re out there. White boys in black suits up before me to commit spy acts in the hall and get it mopped up before I can catch them. And the digs aren’t great. The oscillating ceiling fan is more of a hiccup than a whirl. This morning they came to change out the sheets and never left (they’re nice, Carla and Boris, but wtf?). And that wallpaper? It’s hard to negotiate a comp, or at best, a media rate, when you’re on the lam, right? And so it’s been a lot of mat pilates and the compilation of what we hope is a nice magazine. See Rachel Feinstein’s enshrining of the obviously impermanent Victoria’s Secret girl at Gagosian, Beverly Hills (page 90). See a drag-draped set of relocated Hollywood kids, now far from kids, on page 96. See the next iteration of the Marciano Art Foundation, a safe haven for artistic experimentation, on page 40. See some intense guy who could kick my face into a Picasso wandering around calling himself Jean-Claude Van Johnson on page 110. See our Bruce Weber homage (time’s up, Bruce) with the sexpot Casey Spooner (of Fischerspooner) on the streets, or was it the beaches, or was it the streets, of Rio alongside some washboard abs and presumably Flaunt-paid cabs (page 144).

The Witness Protection Issue. A safe place where the presumed colorful, witnessing, contemptuous, rowdy, or raw can hide out, play it simple, and catch whatever “surf” their surf is, day in and day out, uninterrupted by the forces that conspire. Me? Consider it a sacrifice. Carla and Boris just showed me how their vacuum works, my Flaunt email server just redirected to the wayward annals of Purple Magazine, and the white boys in black suits just slipped a note under the door asking whether I’d like my vegan cheeseburger on multigrain or gluten free. And I ask, is the gluten free corn-derived? Rice? Pea? Guys? Guys? You there? Ok, multigrain. One for the team I guess...

Love,

Matthew

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