After being teased and tantalized by not-quite seeing the second issue of Venü — the lushly produced, beautifully designed culture magazine that comes from Fairfield — I finally managed to grab the July/August issue.
Robert Cottingham was a savvy choice for the cover. A detail of a photo-realistic neon sign that reads “Roxy Arcade” is a real grabber. The minimal design, devoid of coverlines or teasers, really sings, just like in issue No. 1. Philip Eliasoph, the art professor and gallery owner, followed through with an illuminating profile of the artist, who at 74 maintains a studio in a converted barn in or around Newtown.
They have expanded the content with new departments, including travel and music, and the editor’s note promises even broader coverage in the future. This humble blog started out promoting arts mainly on Fairfield Avenue in Black Rock, so I know what it’s like being tempted to go wide with new topics and terrain.
But before they grow too quickly, they need to address some details.
I work in print, so I’m a little more picayune than most readers, but I’ve always believed that a strict copy chief is your tough-love guardian against missteps that create barriers to readers and advertisers. The artfully composed paragraph correctly uses apostrophes, colons, em-dashes, uses abbreviations consistently and knows in which order to place the period and quote. You can set apart the title of a work with italics or quotes, but not both. And phrases like “critically acclaimed” and “”world renowned” should be avoided altogether.
I remember as a young writer getting chewed out by an editor who objected to my cliched description of an award as “highly coveted.” That was even worse than getting caught forgetting that “accommodate” has two m’s. Every newsroom or magazine office needs a persnickety type like that.
High visual standards, and an appreciation of art and culture, should be reflected in the quality of the written word. Yes, I’m in a glass house throwing stones, but when I see a contributors page headed Contributor’s, with a possessive plural, I gotta speak.
I’m really rooting for Venü, not just as a gallery-goer but also as a print designer. I’d like to think that there’s still some viability left in the old ink-on-paper format, and Venü‘s investors appear to be betting the farm on it. Thank you, Venü, for your gift to the community.
This beautiful magazine is available at the Pantry, the Southport Galleries, the Fairfield Arts Council and many other highbrow places throughout the region. I’m hoping they start to distribute at Frame Makers, the Gallery at Black Rock and Port Coffeehouse, too — Black Rock, with its community of artists, collectors and enthusiasts, is a natural environment for Venü.