Many of you who have toured with me get to witness my sheer excitement for the backed magazine catalogue in the Adam and Sophie Gimbel Art and Design Library. But for those of you who haven’t gotten to experience this crazed looked in my eye, let me explain. Everyone has this idea that libraries are these awful places full of dirty, old books, yet our library is full of treasures. Throughout my four years here, I have had a tumultuous relationship with the library, from scared to death (I mean the place is huge) to my favorite place on earth. The reason for this switch is the discovery of the backed magazine catalogue; that’s right folks, I love the stacks.
In the back of the library, which is on the second floor of Parsons 2 West 13th Street building, the library has catalogued current issues of magazines all the way back to the early 1900s. We have a variety of magazines such as Vanity Fair, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, NYLON, Juxtapoz, WIRED and Architectural Digest. Yet, I must admit my favorites are the Vogue issues, which date back to 1918! But all of these magazines are the actual magazines, meaning the same articles and the same advertisements! So rad.
Now you may be wondering just why an illustration major would love a fashion magazine? Well folks, one word: collages. I love to photocopy the pictures and make new collages out of found imagery. Most of this is sketchbook stuff but it helps me to create and design a page. Also, Vogue has great reference photos. I even based my whole senior thesis off the advertisements in the 1926 Harper’s Bazaar – let’s just say it had that whole murder mystery kind of theme to it. Below is a recent collage from a 1950s Vogue advertisement with some found magazine clippings and (believe or not) blown up baseball cards.
The backed magazine catalogue is probably where you can find me most times. Otherwise, I may be in my second favorite place, the Printshop. But if ever at Parsons, make sure to visit the Vogues; it’s one of those secret assets that Parsons has that once you’re a student you’ll become obsessed with.