A Real Page Turner

Larger-than-life sized versions of today’s genre-defining independent magazines are featured in a new exhibition, “Paper Weight.”


Felix Burrichter first met Okwui Enwezor five years ago when Enwezor was the academic dean of the San Francisco Art Institute, and Burrichter was on assignment for the independent men’s magazine Fantastic Man. Last week, the two were together again, but this time around they’d flipped the script on the magazine.

Enwezor, now the director of the Haus der Kunst in Munich, had invited Burrichter, now the editor and creative director of PIN–UP, a sexy magazine about architecture and design, to curate an exhibition about Fantastic Man and its ilk—that is, independent magazines that have launched and, in many cases found success despite the odds, since the turn of the millennium. Paper Weight: Genre-defining Magazines 2000 to Now opened at the Haus der Kunst on Friday.

Not surprisingly, Burrichter set out to redefine the genre of the magazine exhibition itself: “There’s a type of magazine exhibition format, where normally magazines lay on a large table. PIN–UP has been included in exhibitions like that,” he explained as he sat in the second-floor exhibition space the day before the opening. “On the one hand because of the architecture of the building and on the other because architecture is my background and I make an architecture magazine, my objective was to get around this convention, to find a new format.” With the help of the Athens-based experimental architect Andreas Angelidakis, Burrichter gave each of the 15 titles in the show—032c, Butt, Picnic, and Sang Bleu among them—ample space to articulate its identity in the form of long corridors constructed from magazine spreads, four-meters wide and nearly as high. Editors decorated their own spreads and, in many cases, even created altar-like displays around them.

Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari, the Italian duo behind the trippy, appropriation-obsessed magazine TOILET PAPER went into the archives of the Haus der Kunst, considered the first monumental structure built by the Nazis, and created a sitting area out of antique cafeteria furniture with a photograph of a toad in a hamburger bun, a phallic cactus and a large piece of fruit as a backdrop. A cutout of a horse rears up from the arm of one of the chairs.

For the PIN-UP space, Burrichter installed a platform bed, underscoring the sexiness of his publication but also perhaps as a message to his fellow independent publishers: keep dreaming.

“Paper Weight: Genre-defining Magazines 2000 to Now” is on view at Haus der Kunst, Prinzregentenstraße 1, in Munich, Germany through October 27, 2013.