One of the first projects of Abbott’s I remember vividly was the design work he did for 2wice, a magazine about dance he designed and edited beginning in the late nineties. As a high school student, I saw images of this magazine online and wanted to design magazines myself. Abbott has continued to be involved with 2wice, including being a co-founder and serving on the 2wice Arts Foundation, where he recently worked to launch an online archive of his ongoing collaborations with publisher Patsy Tarr. In honor of the new website, I asked Abbott a few questions about what’s become his longest ongoing professional collaboration and what designers might be able to learn from dance.
I’m embarrassed to admit that when you were on the show, we didn’t talk about your work with Dance Ink or 2wice at all! You first started collaborating with publisher Patsy Tarr on these magazines in 1989, making it one of your longest-running projects. How did this collaboration come together? Did you have an interest in dance before this?
I was recommended by Mickey Friedman, the incredible curator of design at the Walker Art Center. I was working on an essay for her exhibition Graphic Design in America and her daughter Lise was a former Merce Cunningham dancer who became the first editor of Dance Ink. I met with Lise and Patsy and they needed someone to take over this modest black and white quarterly. Over the years it became more and more heavily visual with really exceptional photography. There was a photo editor named Kate Schlesinger who was connected to great photographers who saw it as a special assignment: Josef Astor, Ruven Afanador, Brigitte Lacombe, Arthur Elgort, Helmut Newton, Joanne Savio, Duane Michals, and Andrew Eccles.