OOF is a new magazine that explores the relationship between art and football. The London-based publication has just released its first issue that includes interviews with and work by the likes of Chris Ofili, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Rose Wylie and Petra Cortright, and a fascinating story about a mural in Zagreb that depicts Zvonimir Boban fighting with riot police. The handsome, 72-page issue covers a wide range of topics and examines the influence of football across a diverse set of artists and artworks. “From Flemish landscapes filled with children kicking around animal bladders in the snow to immersive multi-screen contemporary video installations, football acts as a symbol: a metaphor for national obsession, passion, physicality, belief, and any number of human powerful emotions and experiences,” says founder and editor Eddy Frankel in the leader. “Football and art have been intertwined for centuries, we’re just going to try to unravel that a little bit.” It’s Nice That caught up with Eddy to find out more about the magazine and its origins.
Who are the team behind OOF and how did you develop the concept?
I came up with the idea for doing an art and football magazine about two years ago, just from being ultra-obsessed with both things and finding artists who were massive football fans and were making work about it too. Justin Hammond, who runs a great gallery called J Hammond Projects, came on board just under a year ago to help make it happen. He and his wife Jennie have played a huge role in getting OOF going. He’s sort of like a bad extra from ‘Lock, Stock…’, aggressively nudging me to get shit sent to the printers in a cockney accent. A brilliant designer called Simon Whybray did the initial art direction, and Tom Havell, who is Time Out’s European head of design, did all the nitty gritty layout jazz.
Who is the target market, who should read OOF?
Most art that uses football isn’t about football at all, it just uses the game as a signifier for all sorts of other crap in society: poverty, violence, passion, belief, community, etc. For a magazine about football, there’s actually very little football in it, so I see OOF as a magazine for people who are interested in art in the broadest sense. Art is niche and exclusive, football is the most popular sport on earth. Hopefully, by talking about the grey areas between the two, OOF can find some beauty in sport and open the doors to art for football fans.
How did you go about sourcing and commissioning the articles?
You don’t have to dig too deep – especially in England – to find art writers and artists who are obsessed with football. The minute word got out about the project, the articles just sort of dropped out of the sky, like a perfectly lobbed pass. We just had to make sure to get a good connection and smash it into the back of the net. (Yeah, football metaphor. Aced it).
What were the design intentions with the magazine? Were there any challenges putting the mag together?
The idea was to make it look halfway between an art catalogue and a football program: big pictures and lots of space, but in a small, program-like format. The dimensions of the mag follow the dimensions of a certain Premier League team’s former pitch, that’s a little easter egg. We tried to do away with a lot of standard magazine page furniture and just concentrate on simplicity and paring the whole thing back to its barest elements. Various things repeat throughout the mag – the way headline and background colours relate to each work of art, for example – and the idea is for the cover logo colour to change with each issue. We just wanted you to look at it and immediately get what it was about. The whole thing took three days to design and layout…
What can we expect next from OOF?
More art, more football. We’re also going to be selling an exclusive limited edition print from the first issue by the amazing Rose Wylie. Come to our launch on March 15th at 40FT Brewery in Dalston, and buy the mag at "oofmagazine.com":https://www.oofmagazine.com or from hip places like Tate, Magculture and various other shops.