Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Tar, Spring-Summer

I don't know much about the magazine, but this cover makes me want to go inside and learn more. Tar is a downtown New York City publication that appears to live at the intersection (or is that cross section?) of arts, culture and fashion. The striking image, created for its second issue by artist Damien Hirst, peels back the skin of über-model Kate Moss to expose the musculature and bone structure of her face. (The original photo was shot for the cover of W in 2005 — it's recycled!) I love this cover because it breaks the rules, reversing the usual order of things to overlay ugly inner reality on the fantasy of outer beauty. What's it trying to tell us? That beauty's only skin deep, that fashion creates unrealistic expectations, or that we're the chumps for buying into it? Who knows, but apparently the magazine's first issue sold 54% of its newsstand copies, which is almost double the industry average. If a magazine has a sense of its audience, it can dare to be different and get away with it — especially in this age, when print media often work best by targeting high-end niche audiences.