Venice, CA: WET Enterprises, Inc., 1981. Side-stapled tabloid newsprint, wraps illustrated in color.
January 1981 issue of the California lifestyle magazine Wet, a seminal avant-garde publication that published a total of 34 issues between 1976 and 1981. Based first in Venice Beach and later in Santa Monica, its innovative visual format helped to define California New Wave aesthetic. The magazine’s complete name was Wet: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing–a concept that evolved out of founder and publisher Leonard Koren’s "Bath art" photos of people bathing–before taking on its later status as a metaphor for the eclectic mix of culture presented in each issue’s pages. Wet represented a quirky combination of art, music, fashion, photography, and popular culture, including advertisements for various local spots in Los Angeles, works by California artists, and often nude photos. Published in different formats over the course of its existence, Wet began as a four-page black-and-white zine, but each iteration continued to develop its experimental graphic design sensibility. The magazine went on to become internationally influential in pop culture: it made the artist David Lynch, among others, a household name, and Matt Groening, creator of "The Simpsons," first published his work there. Wet is said to have influenced the style and layout of the popular contemporary art magazine Artforum. This issue includes a 1981 Meher Baba-themed calendar, stills from a performance by Winston Tong and Bruce Geduldig, an interview with Christopher Lee and another with Merle Haggard, interviews with LA teens about the future, among other features. Light edge wear; two leaves were bound in unopened, though one has been opened. Very good. Item #3582