is a new online magazine that has nothing to do with sex. Its aim is to explore a broad spectrum of modern and contemporary topics through contributors who are themselves artists and actively take part in the making of this culture. Sex Magazine
looks a lot like its blog predecessor SEX LIFE
, but it's extensive content could make it as thick as a book. It looks young, refreshing, and underground, but it is legitimate and documented as a museum catalog. Sex Magazine
is a platform for the underground New York scene that has decided to grow to become a part of New York art history. I had the pleasure of asking Asher Penn, the founder of
, a few questions.
Alexandre Stipanovich: Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Asher Penn: I moved to NY in 2007 to work at Printed Matter and have been involved in publishing since then, both on the production and the distribution end. I self published a lot of my own artist books and published other peoples books too.
AS: You launched Sex Magazine a few weeks ago. It is not a pornographic or erotic mag, so why have you chosen such a title?
AP: A friend had suggested it and it was impossible to think of something better. Titles are never that literal, they’re always meant to abstract and expand your previous associations with those words.
AS: Why did you choose to publish only online? Will a paper issue come out one day?
AP: My feeling is that print-only magazines reach a far smaller readership than they did a decade ago. I don’t know many people that buy or read magazines regularly... which is a bummer all round because there are still amazing print magazines out there. I just don’t think the solution for this lack of readership is making another print magazine.
Sex Magazine, every artistic influence has a category. What made you go for such a large scope of topics?
AP: I like to think of Sex
as a traditional, “all the food groups” cultural magazine... this means giving equal weight to music, art, film, fashion, fiction, etc.
AS: The vibe of the mag is special: it has the freshness of a zine but the content is really extensive. Would you agree?
AP: I hate the word zine... Our aspiration is to bring the values of the print magazines that had inspired us to an online-only format. This has guided our decisions when figuring out both the look and content of the magazine.
AS: Do you choose all of the content yourself?
AP: Kinda. I get a lot of really good suggestions.
AS: And how often are you releasing it?
AP: Quarterly. Our next issue will be out December 15.
AS: What would you like to change or bring into the universe of contemporary culture with your magazine?
AP: It would be nice to encourage and support an independent culture that can exist outside of the power structures of the culture industry—I’m thinking SXSW, Art Basel Miami, and Sundance Film Festival. These institutions seem really limited and corporate, and it’s a shame that they so many people consider these events as the “best case scenario.” It would be cool to come up with an alternative.
AS: Would you say that Sex Magazine is mostly about contemporary New York culture? Or does it try to converse with the past (for example, New York in the 80s) as well?
AP: Our goal is to find a balance. The first issue has interviews with Danny McDonald
and No Neck Blues Band
, who have been active for almost 20 years. At the same time, we have interviews with Masha Tupitsyn
and Raul de Nieves
, who are at comparatively early stages of their careers.
AS: What type of art, artists, and artistic current do you want to show?
AP: Anyone who doesn’t need a gallery to show their work. Anyone who is putting original content on the Internet. Anyone who isn’t making art.
Photo by Brayden Olson
Raul de Nieves