NEW YORK, United States — Blau International, a magazine exploring the intersection between fashion and art, launched Thursday at Paris’ Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain.
The magazine started as an art supplement to the German newspaper Die Welt, and will publish two issues a year in 14 countries under French distributor KD Press. The debut issue, headed by Editor-in-Chief Cornelius Tittel, the creative director at Die Welt, and Fashion Editor Marie Chaix, includes contributions from artists Heji Shin, Jamie Hawkesworth and Julian Barnes, among others, and covers featuring artwork by Caroll Dunham and Bridget Riley, as well as American sculptor Doreen Garner.
The intersection between fashion and art has become increasingly profitable for both sectors — dubbed the “Frieze effect,” luxury brands have relied on art fairs for activations and installations as a means of gaining cultural capital and credibility with consumers. Blau International’s advertisers also speak to this exchange between industries: the publication features campaigns from Gucci, Prada and Saint Laurent as well as ads for show openings from galleries like David Zwirner and White Cube.
At Die Welt, Tittel was responsible for the annual artist newspaper series, tasking German painter Georg Baselitz in 2010 with producing artwork for every page of the publication. The issue was wildly successful and continued with artist series by Cindy Sherman, Ellsworth Kelly, Jeff Koons and Gerhard Richter, eventually prompting the first iteration of Blau.
“A lot of friends outside of Germany always told us, ‘It’s such a waste of energy. You’re doing this amazing magazine and it’s only in German,’” Tittel said. “The niche of German publishing and the niche of the German art world is just a little too small for what we want to do.”
The new magazine’s 226-page offering goes far beyond the original Blau: articles include essays by Sylvester Stallone and David Salle — one about how his life-changing experience with a painting by Peter Paul Rubens at age 12 led to his role in “Rocky,” the other concerning the later work of artist Giorgio de Chirico. Tittel also conducted an “interview” with artist Carol Rama, who died in 2015. (The editor travelled to her hometown of Turin to hold a seánce with a medium and Rama’s longtime confidante Federica Gimaetti.)
Other features include a fashion spread starring actress Aomi Muyock with styling from Chaix, as well as an essay by Barnes about artist palettes.
By publishing twice a year with a large page-count, Blau International is positioning itself closely with other KD Press publications like AnOther Magazine and 032c (Blau International’s artistic director Mike Meiré also works with 032c and A Magazine Curated By).
As of now, Tittel doesn’t plan on digital content for the magazine — the main revenue stream will be print advertisements — but is considering other offerings, including branded apparel and artist collaborations similar to Die Welt’s artist series.
“It would have to be a much bigger operation, right now we’re a very small team,” he said.
Editor’s Note: This article was revised on October 18, 2019. An earlier version of this article stated that Mike Meiré works with Garage Magazine. This is incorrect. Meiré works with A Magazine Curated By.