Ingrid Sischy, Publishing Visionary and Cultural Barometer, Has Died


Ingrid Sischy, the longtime art and culture critic who served as editor-in-chief of Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine during its very best days, died Friday at the age of 63. She had been battling breast cancer.

In her capacity as the editor of ArtForum from 1980 to 1988, Sischy was an early supporter of feminist art. In 2012, reflecting on her time there, she told the magazine:

There was an issue on “The Figure” in the early ’80s [November 1980]. At that point, figuration had acquired a bad name, identified with retrograde painting. But to us, this new notion of the figure represented much more. It represented an extension of feminist thought, as well as the very important issues of homoeroticism and homosexual representation, something that had never been put out front, on the page, on the table, in open discussion.
We had Robert Mapplethorpe take a series of photographs of Lisa Lyon, a performance artist who was building and sculpting her body. So this wasn’t simply “a return to the figure,” but a real search for who this new figure was and what these issues of contemporary identity meant. And, of course, one cannot underestimate how critical, literally, the onset of AIDS was to this entire period. What we lost when we lost all those lives has yet to be reckoned with. We were conscious every day that we were not making a magazine for art in a bubble.

For a time Sischy was the photography and fashion editor for the New Yorker, but joined Interview in 1990, helming the magazine for 18 years. Notoriously, she left the magazine after her partner, Sandra Brant, sold her shares in the company to her ex-husband, Peter Brant; since, she had become a contributing editor to Vanity Fair.

Sischy was a force, a fierce thinker and a visionary who helped push much of this dumb culture forward with her insightful takes on art and fashion. In Greydon Carter’s obituary for his friend, he wrote:

The thing about Ingrid was that although she was friendly with just about everyone in the fashion world—her closest confidants were Miuccia Prada and Karl Lagerfeld—when she sat down to write, she looked for truth, not fantasy. Perhaps the most delicate story she ever wrote for Vanity Fair was the one she did on John Galliano after he had been dropped as head designer from the house of Dior following a series of blistering anti-Semitic remarks he made that had been recorded at a bar in Paris. He was dispatched to the wilderness, broken, and alone. For more than a year, Ingrid and I worked to get him to talk to her. In the end, he did, and the story she wrote was a marvel of empathy and disclosure.

Sischy’s final piece is in an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair, and is on the charmed life of Karl Lagerfeld’s seven-year-old godson, Hudson Kroenig. She wrote,

For show-and-tell he was the only one who brought in magazines with Chanel ads starring himself alongside pop star Pharrell Williams and Cara Delevingne, the in-demand model of the moment, who has more than 15 million Instagram followers, almost twice as many as Lady Gaga. Delevingne is Hudson’s favorite model. When I asked her if he in turn is her No. 1, she gushed, “Oh God, yes.” She skipped a beat. “In his age bracket.”
Delevingne says Hudson likes her because she acts his age. When they have downtime on a job they wrestle and poke each other. “Sometimes he’s more professional than I am,” she says. He can indeed seem almost a parody of professionalism. On a recent job in which father and both sons modeled for Tiffany’s Christmas campaign, Nicole recalls, Hudson said good-bye to everyone when the shoot was over as if he were the company’s C.E.O. “It was so nice to work with you,” Hudson told the team. “I hope to do so again.”

Thank you, Ingrid Sischy. Your words will be missed.

Contact the author at [email protected].

Image via Getty

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