Tuesday, September 23, 2014

this was(n't really) tomorrow - slight return

Bruce Sterling acerbic in Artforum on the art of Omni magazine, as compiled in a new book called The Mind's Eye

I think this stuff looked camp, or just naff, even at the time.

It's sort of airbrush Dali  meets sword'n'sorcery paperbacks meets preview of the more cyberdelic rave flyers on the US West Coast

Amazed how long it went on as well, all through the Eighties and into the Nineties

Can't recall if I ever bought a copy - definitely saw it around, flicked through it at . W.H. Smiths I should imagine.

You can find a bunch of old Omni's archived online here and here


  1. Omni mags were put in the same category as Pelican books in my nipper consciousness: things that friends' parents would have lying around the house (alongside full ashtrays and dirty glasses that smelled of booze). And, like Pelicans, they were boring in an exciting way; you wouldn't want to read them, but they were evidence of another, possibly bigger and completely alien world (the same effect that modern art could have on a child's brain). But, unlike Pelicans, they indicated that there was space for weirdness in the adult world.

    That art style isn't my cup of tea either but for the above reason's I'm glad it was there. In fact, the genre-ey nature of it (which kids pick up on very quickly) probably boosted the effect described above, cos genre = symbolism, and like all symbolism it's more exciting when you don't know the code.

    As for Stirling's piece - it's a bit Jonathan Meades, innit? The criticism being uglier than the subject. Boring, too: things being put in their proper place and a heirarchy asserted yet again. Meh.

  2. I was in my 'teens during the first several years of the mag's run. My impression at the time was that it was like a stoner's equiv of Discover magazine.

    > ...The criticism being uglier than the subject.

    Right. He really gets vindictively personal toward the end...like he deeply has it in for the Gucciones.