Exclusive: Inside Document Journal’s First Issue


“You go to the newsstand, and you see so many great European biannuals — if it’s AnOther, if it’s quarterly like Fantastic Man, or even a Self Service or a Purple,” Nick Vogelson, the former creative director for Out, told The Cut on Tuesday. “There just wasn’t something that felt fresh that was out of New York.” His observation prompted him to call his friend, fashion editor James Valeri, with the idea to put together a new magazine.

Originally, Vogelson wanted to enlist a pair of photographers, a woman and a man, as curators. “We sat down and started thinking … and I said, ‘Look, maybe we can actually do more than two photographers,’ because two photographers would be really hard due to production. It’s so many pages with no budget,” Valeri remembered. Together, they came up with the premise for Document Journal — an anthology of pictures, essays, paintings, fashion content, and other miscellany either created exclusively for the project or never seen before, most of it somehow tied to Manhattan and its boroughs. “After the eighties, globalization, or Giuliani — blame who you want— but the famous glamour of New York faded a little bit,” Valeri explained. “Everything became so consumerist. Basically, we want to bring something that is interesting, and there’s content [from] the people of New York that made the city — artists, writers. Then, we wanted to make it also contemporary and talk about things that are happening that we like.”

The handful of submissions quickly turned into a 256-page tome with four separate covers (two of Liya Kebede by Collier Schorr, an artwork by Franceso Vezzoli, and Jeff Burton’s take on Twilight’s Kellan Lutz). Instead of the standard contributors listing, Vogelson, Valeri, and editor Pierre Alexandre de Looz had participants share a meaningful document of their own. Schorr handed in a ConEd refund sent to Richard Prince when he lived at 303 Gallery, and Jack Pierson e-mailed a screenshot from Facebook on his iPhone — specifically, a wall post by someone named Destiny sounding off about her “FAKE BIG TITS.”

When asked what they would proffer, both Valeri and Vogelson paused. Valeri eventually remarked, “I would probably give a snapshot of my collections of Italian Vogues in my bedroom in my parents’ house in Rome. I think that’s the reason I’m here. I started collecting them when I was probably 11 years old, because my mom would buy them, and then it ended up being me buying them obsessively every month, seeing what the new hair color of Linda Evangelista was.” Vogelson said his document would be “a framed photo, a portrait, a Polaroid of Gore Vidal that I got when we were doing a portrait of him a few years ago for a magazine. And he had broken his finger. He was going to autograph the Polaroid for me but he couldn’t write so there’s just scribble all over the bottom of it.”

The duo ordered 20,000 copies of the magazine, paying for printing with ads sold to Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, and Barneys, and they’re working with Distributed Art Publishers (D.A.P.) to stock Document in museum shops, in bookstores, and on newsstands come September 6 in NYC and elsewhere in October, priced at $20. While the magazine’s website launched on Wednesday, Vogelson and Valeri are thinking about various ways to align Document with different audiences, beginning with a party at Bookmarc on Fashion’s Night Out, and they’re also working on “an event at P.S. 1 that’s actually going to be a Kiki Ball,” according to Vogelson. For those unfamiliar: “A Kiki Ball is the younger Harlem ball scene kids — they’re 15 to 21, so we’re [hosting] that. We really want to find unexpected things.”

The magazine’s second issue is already slated for early 2013, with people ready to pitch in who missed out the first time around. Click ahead for an exclusive preview of Document, and be sure to read Glenn O’Brien’s poem “The O.G.”