TAR is not a fashion magazine – its editor, Evan Schindler will tell you as much. Sure a few fashion personalities make special guest appearances and there is a smattering of editorial content but ultimately these are amusing post scripts on an altogether charming love letter to the art world. The second issue’s cover of Kate Moss ala Damien Hirst is only there to grab your attention – the real nitty gritty of the magazine’s second issue lies in exploring the ways in which art is becoming honest. The issue’s theme of transparency is almost a misnomer – the content presented isn’t transparent as much as it is seditious – a pointed middle finger in the air to the status quo and its lies.
Visually the content is exciting – when you have the work of Cindy Sherman, Marilyn Minter, Terry Richardson, Cedric Buchet, Chuck Close, Juergen Teller & Elle Muliarchyk on display it’s hard not to have pictures that captivate. The Buchet and Muliarchyk editorials are particularly fascinating due to their fearlessness. Buchet uses Natasa Vojnovic to great effect – covering her in slabs of meat and sprinkles as they literalize the idea of transparency. Muliarchyk relies on sheer daring as she sneaks designer goods inside of a church to shoot them in the hands of idols. Her guerilla approach to photography feels fresh and genuine and her story is perhaps the most exciting surprise of the issue itself. Considerably less interesting is the Roe Ethridge story which while pretty seems to be less than perfect – at this point a nude accessories story is fairly unstimulating and a waste of Ethridge’s flair for the mundane.
Pictures aside the articles – particularly the conversations section - are all choice. The story on E.R. Butler’s inspired designs of everything from faucets to sextoys is a compelling read as is the blow by blow of Tilda Swinton and Steve McQueen. For political junkies the conversation between Fatima Bhutto and Traffic screenwriter, Stephen Gaghan is a must read. There really is something for everyone who has any interest at all in culture what so ever but everything is shown through the looking glass.
Which brings us back to Kate. There is no actual Kate Moss content in the issue. Sorry Moss fans. There is however a particularly amusing short story by James Frey about a character who bears some resemblance to the Moss we’ve come to know but this particular incarnation is more focused on cheating death and her time is spent at the Institute of Molecular Manufacturing rather than on the catwalk. While this may sound completely nutty, Frey is most adept at pulling “facts” out of thin air and it all blends together to form a rather odd tale. It is not the sort of thing that would run in any other magazine but its this commitment to doing things differently that makes TAR worthwhile.