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You've heard the term kingmaker? Well, that designation is true in the case of Ingrid Sischy. For 35 years Sischy was not just one of the art world's movers and shakers but one of New York City's true culture mavens. Ingrid passed away this morning at New York's Sloan Kettering where she was being treated for breast cancer.
In the mid 1970s Sischy got her start as director of Printed Matter, the still thriving artist/writer art book–bookstore in NYC. After a stint as a curatorial assistant in the photography department at MoMA Sischy became editor-in-chief of Artfourm at the tender age of 27. Back in 1979 when Sischy took the post, the magazine was bookish and elitist. According to art critic Jerry Saltz, under Sischy Artfourm became "glossy, bossy, exclusive, faddish, smart, and cliquish, in new ways that had less to do with academia." In a way, Sischy road the crest of the art world wave from a stuffy little insiders club, to the unwieldy circuit party it is today.
Back in the 80s Sischy christened the careers of a generation of art stars; Basquiat, Schnable, Golden, to name a mere few. I remember being an undergraduate art student and scrapbooking pages of the glossy features so I could look at them over and over, day dreaming about art stardom. The illusion she created was so tantalizing.
In 1989 she took the helm at Andy Warhol's Interview magazine, it was a perfect marriage of her passion for fashion, art and Hollywood celebrity. It was there she got together with her partner, the magazine's publisher, Sandra Brandt. The two remained together for the next 25 years, marrying in the last few weeks of her life.
Since 2008 Sischy and Brandt had been international editor's for Condé Nast, which appeared to mean the couple was able to continue to spend time together traveling abroad to cultural hubs. Sischy continued to crank out features and interviews often with reticent celebs such as John Galliano, Nicole Kidman, Madonna, and Karl Lagerfeld.
Back in 2003 a year after I founded Velvetpark, I wrote to Ingrid and sent her a few issues of the print magazine. I was stuggling and clueless, and I saw her as an icon. We had never met, it was basically a "cold call". She found the time to actually write me back. I always thought that was classy.