The latest issue of Museum focuses itself around 1972, a year that remains the longest in the world’s history, chosen because of its parallels with our current zeitgeist. Its makers explain: ‘We sifted through archives and records and museum repositories, and concluded that this year—a blockbuster 366 days of Watergate scandals, high-impact feminist art, death penalty abolitions, Aboriginal land rights protests, and wild, zany pop-cultural artefacts—was to be our year, that it had plenty to say about the condition in which we find ourselves right now.’
Taking a year in history as its focus is not Museum’s usual thematic format. Its past issues have been titled ‘Factory’, ‘Sorry…Have We Met?’ and ‘Noses’, among others, but this historic focal point is nicely explored. The introduction notes 1972 remains the longest year in Earth’s history, and the issue opens with a timeline from 1 January through to 29 December 1972, and the tumultuous political events do indeed reflect those of today.
The magazine then takes a more modern stance, bringing the reader back to the present day with a preview of five exhibitions taking place across the world, before embarking on a chronological round-up of events throughout 1972, alongside interviews and features with people who were present in them.
In one instance there is a look at Joan Jonas’ 1972 performance of ‘Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy’ (above), and in an ongoing feature called ‘Newhaven’, which reappears throughout the magazine, locals from a community centre in that East Sussex toen reminisce about their lives 46 years ago (below).
There are two covers available, each featuring an image of Gilbert and George taken at their home in Fournier Street, East London, where they have resided since 1968. The images and an accompanying interview (above) are framed around the opening of ‘The New Art’ exhibition at London’s Hayward Gallery in August 1972, ‘the first significant institutional survey of British conceptual art’, featuring Gilbert and George’s colossal drawing ‘The Shrubberies’.
Museum is a biannual magazine from New York investigating contemporary art, fashion and photojournalism. It aims to expand and deepen the conversation surrounding those disciplines, and to present them within a wider context. Its content ranges from critical essays, to conversation pieces and interviews. Centring the issue around a single year is an intriguing idea that works well enough for 1972 that it leaves the reader wondering what other years might reveal should the annual theme continue in future issues.