Currently reading : WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing at Udolpho
“The world wasn’t crying out for a periodical on bathing when Leonard Koren introduced Wet magazine in 1976. However, Koren had the imagination and audacity to create his own world, and that’s exactly what he did with Wet: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing.” Kristine McKenna Music Editor of WET.
In 1976 Leonard Koren started a simple one man operation that would evolve into one of the most progressive publications of the twentieth century. Encapsulating an essence of post punk attitudes which were emerging in Los Angeles at the time, Koren created a completely original aesthetic to go along with these new ideals which waved good bye to the decadence of the West Coast’s hippy years.
WET Magazine ran for thirty four issues before closing in 1981, in retrospect since its finishing Udolpho in Berlin have created an exhibition exploring the importance of this magazine which has just opened and will be on until the 21st of September.
Not a fashion magazine, nor an art publication, WET crossed boundaries and attracted a wide variety of readers from all over the spectrum of the arts. Its original content also meant that it pulled in a large variety of advertisers which added its its huge success. WET magazine now has a cultish reputation among graphic designers so this exhibition enables full exploration of the following of this magazine.
Koren initially set out to make a magazine which would incorporate his own interest in interior design from his training in architecture – WET was essentially about interesting peoples homes and their swimming pools. This meant that the magazine was full of beautiful people semi dressed or naked in their Californian homes. A simple idea but also one that didn’t correspond with any other publications of the time.
Individual issues boasts descriptions such as “an interview with Tom Johnson, author of the Sauna Book, and an interview with the USC swim team and Brian Eno , bathroom remodelling an article on detoxification and much more.” or “a review of scientology’s purification process, an interview with Mark Stamaty of the Village Voice, and photographer Helmut Newton and an article on artist John Duncan”
The term ‘Gourmet Bathing’ was registered as a trademark by Leonard Koren when he initially founded it, which now seems like an outlandish procedure but very much fitted in to the eccentric nature of the magazine.
The magazine is perhaps best known for its brash and progressive graphic design which spilled over from notions of psychedelia from earlier in the decade and into the abrasive nature of post punk.It also captured the attention to new ideas such as looking after your body and the values of wheatgrass which now seem so stereotypically Californian but at the time were more unheard of.
The 34 bimonthly magazines will be able to be fully enjoyed until the 21st of September which has been organised by Julian Göthe.
WET, The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing, 1976–81, Udolpho