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September 6, 2014

Jack Pierson: Tomorrow’s Man

A Scrapbook Study of Masculinity from the American Artist

“Kids these days don’t get things that are harder to come by than a Google search. People had to maraud around to find magazines like this in the 1950s and 60s, in their smalltown drugstores or porno shops,” says Jack Pierson of the appeal of mid-century, physique-focused magazines such as Tomorrow’s Man. Reappropriating the publication’s title as well as its retro bodybuilding aesthetic for his book project of the same name, Pierson takes viewers on a dizzying visual journey of homoerotica. For the second edition, previewed here, Pierson referenced his own vast archives and championed the work of gay artists as well as his own students: highlights include sci-fi-imbued illustrations courtesy of 1970s Playboy contributor Mel Odom and surreal assemblages from the New York-based artist Tibi Tibi Neuspiel. The resulting visual remixes rebel against the photobook format, leaving work straddling page breaks and genre definitions. “I’m hoping to do a dozen of these each term, and part of the idea is to keep some people consistent throughout the whole thing, so that it gives a feeling of addition and subtraction,” he says. “Hopefully something radical will happen along the way.”

Tomorrow’s Man 2 is published by Bywater Bros Editions September 30. The book will be launched at the Whitechapel Gallery during London Art Book Fair, from 26 through 28 September.

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Weekend in Gstaad: A Study in Snow

Our Spotlight on Switzerland Continues with New Alpine-Inspired Works by Christian Marclay, Olivier Mosset and Roman Signer

Continuing our high-altitude stint at Elevation 1049, Swiss photographer and ECAL student Benoît Jeannet captures the Swiss art summit and the landscape that inspired it. “Gstaad is a peculiar place where Switzerland offers a real view of its economical power,” explains Jeannet. “Everything’s well taken care of, clean and luxurious—the town is a kind of showroom.” As a counterpoint to the expensive hotels, groomed ski runs, designer boutiques and celebrity sightings, the artists have tried to engage with the geography of the area, installing artwork that embraces not only its peaks, but also issues like climate change and inequality. “All the works are engaging in very distinct ways,” says Neville Wakefield, who curated the site-specific exhibition with his partner, the artist Olympia Scarry. “Ugo Rondinone’s tower, for example, sang its single blue note into the landscape, but its presence could be felt everywhere.” London-based artist Christian Marclay took his inspiration from an unexpected source: Bollywood. For decades, Indian directors have come to Switzerland to film elaborate dream sequences in which the romantic leads typically frolic on hillsides, covered in snow or buttercups: his 17-minute montage piece, “Bollywood Goes to Gstaad,” is being shown in a cable car that travels halfway up the Gondelbahn Glacier.

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Spotlight

Hans Ulrich Obrist: Morning Ritual

The Maverick Swiss Curator Takes Us For an Early Morning Jog Into the New Year

“I believe in the idea of rituals,” says indefatigable cultural innovator Hans Ulrich Obrist, who helps us into 2014 with his thoughts on routine while taking his daily run around London’s Hyde Park. “But rather than following existing rituals given to us by society, I believe in inventing our own.” The Co-Director of the Serpentine Gallery is the founder of the Brutally Early Club, a dawn exercise initiative frequented by artists, curators and thinkers including Marina Abramović and Markus Miessen. Ulrich led NOWNESS regular Linda Brownlee around the 350-acre oasis of green in the center of London that his gallery calls home, which also plays host to a New Years Day 10K fun run each year. Curating his first show in the kitchen of his student-flat in St. Gallen in 1991, Swiss-born Ulrich joined Julia Peyton-Jones at the Serpentine in 2005 and has been instrumental in the development of the gallery and the recent opening of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, designed by Iranian architect Zaha Hadid. Obrist's early running ritual just one facet of his can-do approach to life: he founded the 89plus Programme that celebrates the creativity of young people with fellow curator Simon Castes in 2013, and on top of his regular writing and lecturing engagements he also finds time to read at least one book a day. “The park is my extended office and I love the idea of having early meetings on the move,” he says. “It’s a discipline, but also kind of an urgency to start things. It liberates time.”

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