Hot Times in the City

Gary Lenhart, Michael Scholnick, and Greg Master received a grant from the CCLM in order to finance the final issue of Mag City, which was dedicated to Edwin Denby.  Gets me thinking if there is a relation between government funds and the format of a little magazine.  Mag City changed format after receiving the grant, going for what I would suspect the editors felt was a more professional look.  I wonder if grant money standardized magazine formats.  Was there a little magazine out there that received a grant and used that money to complicate or experiment with the magazine format.  Like if Mag City would have gone all Aspen or Semina after receiving the cash flow.  I am not aware of that happening but it may have.

Ironically it seems to me that lack of funds forces magazine editors to get creative with their formats.  Berman would be a case in point.  Ted Berrigan is another.  The fourth issue of C A Journal of Poetry was also an Edwin Denby issue and that issue, printed with what I would suspect was minimal funding, is far more interesting than the Mag City special issue.  Berrigan could not produce a magazine like Locus Solus because he did not have the means (This is an assumption on my part.  Locus Solus looks more expensive, maybe that is just because it looks French.)  The use of mimeo and silkscreening created not a standard little mag but an art object.  Of course, it helps that Andy Warhol was involved.  The C edition of Denby strikes me as much more of a celebration of Denby, more in the spirit of things, than Mag City's slicker edition.

I would have preferred if Lenhart and company would have continued with their standard format for the Denby issue.  That format links back to Berrigan and C and would provide a cool historical backdrop.  I guess it could be argued that Mag City, and United Artists, Rocky Ledge or any number of third generation New York School magazines are just derivative Cs but I for one love that format.  And it seems to me that Berrigan's signature look came about from the necessity of doing things cheaply.  Yet working within those constraints generated a design of considerable richness.  A look that influenced legions of little magazines that followed after it.



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