Our latest Magazine of the Month is a piece of publishing history. First published in 2001, Butt reinvented gay publishing, its trademark pink pages portraying gay men and their day-to-day lives in a matter-of-fact manner unseen until then.
The magazine majored on long form interviews and serial portraits of its subjects, with a healthy mix of tongue in cheek humour and explicit imagery. Nobody had ever done that before, let alone in such a natural and unsensational manner. The magazine quickly built a loyal readership of ‘Buttheads’.
The editor’s approach to their subject reflected the early noughties and the opening up of gay lives, rising to a societal shift and setting the tone for a new wave of magazines. It’s perhaps difficult to comprehend now just how revolutionary the magazine was, both on its own terms but also more generally—this approach to their subjects was advanced further by founders Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom when they later launched Fantastic Man. In terms of both editorial character and design, Fantastic Man owes its creative identity to Butt.
Quite why Butt closed in 2011 has never been clear—perhaps it was a case of job done? But last year it suddenly reappeared. With support from luxury fashion house Bottega Veneta, the new issues have been even more succesful than the first run, picking up where it left off eleven years earlier and clicking immediately with both its original readership and a new generation of readers.
Its trademark pink pages are more confident and assured then ever, reflecting how society has changed in the meantime—the magazine built its readership and reputation back when showing gay life was itself a revelation. Today it has broadened its horizons to cover lesbian, transgender, and queer lives, and is able to share many different possible meanings and futures for a larger audience.
Such an analysis is in danger of sucking the joy from the project. One of Butt’s best characteristics has always been that the people making it are so obviously enjoying the process of making their magazine. It exudes fun and life—the sign of a great magazine—which is why it’s our latest Magazine of the Month. It also bodes well for Jonker’s and von Bennekom’s upcoming reinvention of Fantastic Man.
Editors Andrew Pasquier, Gert Jonkers, Jop van Bennekom and Nathaniel Feldmann
Design Jop van Bennekom, Nuno Beijinho and Rogier Delfos