At the end of February, the Museum of Modern Art opened an exhibition in the nether regions of the Cullman Building entitled Millennium Magazines. This exhibition was pulled from the Art Library’s holdings and includes international magazines and journals published since 2000. There were a number of intriguing entries, including 2-UP, A Prior, Charley, Conveyor Magazine, Elk, The Exhibitionist, The Happy Hypocrite, Kilimanjaro, Kaleidoscope, and Medium, among others. Rounding out my personal favorites was White Zinfandel, a large-format publication “devoted to the visual manifestation of food and culture produced within the lives of creative individuals.”
White Zinfandel resurfaced at the Dependent Art Fair earlier this March in the midst of Armory Week. The magazine is produced by W/— Projects, a gallery on the Bowery founded in 2008 by Jiminie Ha as an interdisciplinary space with a focus on installation. Each issue revolves around a culinary theme. The first issue focused on Gordon Matta Clark’s 1970 SoHo outpost, FOOD. The modest booth allowed me to inspect the delectable wad of paper that had so thoroughly encased my curiosity only days earlier.
Conceptually, White Zinfandel is an intersection between an artist’s book and free-association reflections. The most recent issue considers TV dinners, according to the introduction, and their “perfect marriage of pragmatism and cultural excess.” TV dinners are both an American standard and an American mystery, a symbol of laziness and of the future. The visual interjections in the magazine blur high and low spheres flawlessly, from Felix Burrichter’s nauseating meat collage to SOFTlab’s Mac & Cheese still life. The submissions from artists include collage, photography, paintings, and digital projects.
The writing in White Zinfandel extends into stream of consciousness territory. Larger themes of boredom, expectations, and memory’s association with food are all addressed. Michael Bell-Smith addresses his childhood high hopes for New York City based on his obsession with Taxi, and how those expectations and tastes have adjusted since becoming a resident ten years ago. Jack Hanley contributes another flavor in his discussion of The Diggers, a posse of renegades in San Francisco that denied themselves money and formed their own community without it from 1966 to 1968. Their publication, Digger Papers, and independent institutions, such as a Free Bank and Free Frame of Reference, dissolved the barriers guarding this life-altering system. The essays are written with a nod to the culturally literate yet are conversely informal, encouraging foul language and overtly subjective reflections. Anna Choi presents a reflection, animated by charts and tables, of contemporary food discourse via social media and what purpose (if any) it fulfills.
The second issue of White Zinfandel contrasts need and want, mocking the modern desire to have instant everything by glorifying “the generic and banal.” Upcoming issue three is inspired by food fights: the intersection of play, aggression, and waste. With such an immaculate format and, thus far, delicious editorial board, I can plan on devouring every issue of White Zinfandel from here on out.