While we’re working on our own magazine, we’re always eager to discuss the magazines we’ve encountered. WET, the now defunct magazine all about art and bathing, published 34 issues between 1976-1981. Pretty good subjects, and ones that took after artwork its founder, Leonard Koren, was doing at the time called “bath-art.” It’s contributors included many young talents such as Matt Groening, Peter Shire, and April Greiman.
It has a sense of freedom, absurdity, and creativity that many commercially available products – and magazines are commercially available products – don’t have today with all their categories and branding. It also seems to represent the Los Angeles attitude of the late 70s and early 80s through its articles, stories, art, and architectural features dedicated to bathing. It included design competitions open to anyone who had ever taken a bath and soap reviews in every issue, but the content wasn’t limited to bathing. The magazine even changed its subtitle from “Gourmet Bathing” to “Gourmet Bathing and Beyond” several issues in. Contributor Charlie Haas asserted that in this magazine “bathing is a means for enjoying the world … it’s a parody of all other enthusiasms.”
There’s something to be said about the willingness to be silly. Take a look at young Richard Gere on the cover of January/February 1980 issue and some other pages: