German Art Magazine Blau Launches International Edition

Joelle Diderich

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PARIS — German art magazine Blau celebrated the launch of its international edition with a breakfast on Thursday at the recently reopened Paris Museum of Modern Art, timed to coincide with a week of events in the French capital around the FIAC contemporary art fair.

Blau editor in chief Cornelius Tittel has produced special sections for German daily Die Welt with artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, Gerhard Richter and Jeff Koons. Blau started some five years ago as a supplement for the paper’s subscribers, before launching as a stand-alone art monthly in Germany last year.

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“From the first issue we did in Germany, the outlook was very international, so people always said it’s a bit of a waste of energy to do it just in German, for a very small niche audience,” Tittel told WWD.

“We had this network of great artists who all respected our work and kind of knew we were doing something special in Germany,” he continued. “You have a lot of open doors after 10 years of building that up.”

A test English-language issue, launched at Art Basel in 2016, laid the groundwork for Blau International, which has been totally redesigned by art director Mike Meiré.

The inaugural edition features three covers: one showing an Op Art painting by British artist Bridget Riley; one featuring a portrait of American sculptor and performance artist Doreen Garner, and one reproducing an explicit painting by American artist Carroll Dunham.

“You can imagine that the cover which Carroll Dunham did with the guy shooting himself in the arse is not exactly the cover which will fly from the newsstands in the United States,” Tittel dryly told guests.

Also on the menu is an article by Julian Barnes, in which he analyzes painters’ palettes; a fashion shoot by Brianna Capozzi starring Swiss actress Aomi Muyock; an interview of the late artist Carol Rama conducted with the aid of a medium, and a photo essay by François Halard in the Hezbollah stronghold of Baalbek.

Halard juxtaposes images of the Roman ruins in Lebanon’s City of the Sun with the interiors of the Palmyra Hotel, which once hosted personalities including Jean Cocteau and former French president Charles de Gaulle, but has since become a trifle dusty.

“A little more than dusty,” Halard exclaimed. “When you want hot water, the old maître d’hôtel shows up with a wrench to turn on the water, so it’s very old school. My wife and I stayed in the room that hosted General de Gaulle on his last visit, and the room hadn’t changed since de Gaulle stayed there.”

In honor of the launch, Fabrice Hergott, director of the Paris Museum of Modern Art, hung a painting by Riley in the museum’s Matisse Room. The event was underwritten by Italian luxury brand Gucci.

“My friends from Gucci in Milan, they were always encouraging me to do this in English. It was like, ‘This would be our favorite art magazine if you would not do it in German,’” said Tittel, adding that he hoped the end result was “a magazine that you want to read, that you want to spend some hours with.”

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