Business and Edit: A Perfect Fit

In Which 'Brill's Content' Loses Its Virginity

But that was the news department, and "the Times, is not the monolith people think it is," explains Katherine Bouton, deputy editor of the Magazine. Bouton says the "bad girls" piece was intended "to show our readers something that's happening in the art world." But the editors couldn't run the full pictures, they thought, because of a century-old Times policy against frontal nudity. So they settled on the black bars, an approach they deemed both "fair" (think of expletives deleted from a quote) and "lighthearted."

Thus, what started as an artistic showcase became an exercise in editorial theory. "Those bands. . . became an element in the design that made a point about . . . what can be shown and what can't," says Bouton. In other words, if the "bad girls" thought the joke was on them, they got it wrong. The joke's on us, insists Janet Froelich, art director for the Magazine. "We were mocking ourselves [by] making the bars larger than they had to be."

Solomon says the piece was intended to be "supportive" of four artists who "deserve serious consideration." She denies that it was any more sensational than the work itself ("We're just mirroring what's out there"). And she hopes no one was offended by the "bad girl" label, which has "been floating around for some time." Besides which, it was meant to be "ironic."

Apparently, the Times's nudity policy is also ironic. When the Voice called to confirm it, we found out it doesn't exist.

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