Marfa is a pretty isolated desert town in western Texas, USA. Marfa is a microcosm of all the truly unique and wonderful things that have happened, and are happening, in the art world. It is filled with a rare infectious creative energy. On a road trip to Marfa, Alexandra Gordienko stole some of this spirit and poured it right into her self-published indie magazine MARFA JOURNAL, a biannual publication.
The result is as electrifying as the town of Marfa! “MARFA JOURNAL is not a tour guide to Marfa, TX. Never was and never will be. Although it feeds off its energy.” – Alexandra, editor-in-chief, MARFA JOURNAL, clarifies in issue 2. Interestingly, MARFA initially started off as a graduation project for Alexandra at Central Saint Martins.
The magazine has got a solid hard cover. And with the strength of about 300 pages, it’s almost like a tome. In fact, on its Facebook page, it refers to itself as a Book, and not a Magazine.
This particular cover (for #2), designed by Terry Richardson, has a grey landscape with ‘Don’t let idiots ruin your day’ post-it imprinted at the bottom. Through six sections- Raw, Casual, Obscure, Romantic, Decadent and Progressive- MARFA captures many fascinating stories of the art and fashion world. The layout is interesting to say the least, full of absolutely stunning and unconventional photographs. At places, it’s clean and simple. And at others, it’s completely subversive.
I love the editorial by Alexandra that’s spread over many pages, literally blown out of regular proportions. It seems like she has splattered her stream of consciousness on the pages, but it all comes together to form the essence of the magazine.
“I play with the aesthetic of FEMALE TOUGHNESS. WHY NOT? That FUCK-IT attitude that’s so appealing to some of us, sometimes obscures the fact that all of it, is a result of HARD WORK,” says Alexandra.
In the magazine, many of the conversations are with Alexandra’s artist friends or about them. In an interview to Dazed, she refers to MARFA as a world ‘by artists, for artists’. The other people featured in the magazines are the people she and her friends are basically obsessed with, she half jokingly mentions in the same interview.
Somewhere inside, there is an interesting conversation between two New York city “art scene veterans” - Leo Fitzpatrick and Lele Saveri - about art, about culture (or the lack of it) in New York, about why people should hate most art, and about The Newsstand – a place in New York that sells all things zines (which I am dying to check out!). On another page, you will get introduced to three people, dressed as gorgeous mermaids, chilling on a bench. They are MAD Agency, focusing on creating collaborative workspaces and residencies for artists in different parts of the world.
In a conversation with Nalden, co-founder of Wetransfer, interesting questions are raised about the relevance of physicality, about the medium being the message and what’s actually left for us offline. Then there is a larger conversation with the American actress Rose McGowan about her various creative influences. McGowan has recently directed a short film titled ‘Dawn’ set in the 1960s. By the way, you can watch the film here.
Alexandra and Klára Haščáková, creative director of MARFA, indulge in another long conversation with Richard Mosse, a half Irish and half American photographer who has been capturing the war in the Eastern Congo since the last three years or so. Of course, as Alexandra mentions in the introduction to the interview, they all know each other. No wonder then that the interview is a beautiful, funny, free-flowing conversation, as are most interviews in MARFA.
Well, that’s enough of teasers. There is obviously much more to explore when you get your hands on this beautifully produced magazine.
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