October 2008 may have seemed like the worst time to start a new magazine, but that didn’t deter Evanly Schindler, the founder and former editorial director of BlackBook, from starting a thick, indie arts biannual called Tar under the rubric of a media company called Tar Art, which he’d founded two years earlier with former Diesel public-relations bigwig Maurizio Marchiori.
The first issue arrived on stands with much fanfare and a crowded party, perhaps thanks to the long list of high-profile names gracing its masthead and editorial pages. Alexandra Kerry (daughter of John) and John Mailer (son of Norman) were recruited as staff editors, as was Zoe Wolff, former features director at Domino. Mr. Schindler tapped his former BlackBook cohort Bill Powers, husband of designer Cynthia Rowley, as artistic director, and Susan Cappa, former associate publisher of Vogue, as publisher. There were contributions from artist Matthew Barney, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, filmmaker David Cronenberg, photographer Ryan McGinley and artist-filmmaker Julian Schnabel, who shot Oscar winner Benicio del Toro for the cover. The second issue, which came out in April, was no less splashy, with a somewhat gruesome cover image of model Kate Moss’ face designed by wealthy artist Damien Hirst.
But there is some doubt as to whether the magazine’s third issue, expected out this month, will hit the presses.
Well-placed sources told the Transom that Tar’s former Hudson Street offices are closed (the voice mailbox there was full), that the staff has not worked since mid-summer and that several contributors had filed pieces for the next issue only to learn that it wouldn’t be published.
So is Tar kaput?
“It’s on hold,” wrote Mr. Schindler, reached via email, though he declined to elaborate any further than to say, “If the third issue of Tar comes out late, or not at all, contributors will be paid according to contracts, including standard kill fees.”
It’s possible Mr. Schindler is simply busy in his role as president of Interview magazine, a post to which he was appointed in July.