Here's where Vice's real agenda begins to peep through the scatology, like a seam of lace under a crumpled Kleenex; behind the affectations of hoodlum and white trash style, the glorification of rural teenage delinquency and the cheap shots at NYU students, Vice is a magazine written by and for urban sophisticates, people who know quite a bit about art, photography and design and are actually highly invested in aesthetics. Vice's photo editor, seen holding a fake iBook in the iHustle feature, just happens to be Ryan McGinley, an American Photo Magazine Photographer of the Year and, at 25, the youngest artist ever to have a solo show at the Whitney. Could it be that behind the sophomoric, mischievous, dismissive, even nihilistic style, Vice is the voice of a twentysomething generation clearing the decks for a new aesthetic? Is the magazine's iconoclasm pure destruction or preparatory work for a new definition of the 'iconic'? Is the disgust directed here at design actually disgust at its co-option by consumerism, its low aspirations?
The Vice Design Issue is not an anti-design tract, but the championing of an aesthetic that's already quite well-established, already wowing museum curators -- a casual, trashy, porno-party style that celebrates tack, lo-tech and the good old bohemian values of sex, drugs and rock and roll. This salon des refuses, populated by people in their twenties, is well on its way to becoming a salon tout court.
What, VICE is run by a bunch of educated middle-class yuppies? All the nihilistic rants, casually homophobic epithets and keeping-it-real articles about prison life and street violence and ultraviolent musical subcultures and guest contributions by the likes of Jim Goad and such are just the affectation of a bunch of privileged scions of the cultural elite slumming it before they join the establishment proper? Say it ain't so!
Please keep comments on topic and to the point. Inappropriate comments may be deleted.
Note that markup is stripped from comments; URLs will be automatically converted into links.