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Ingrid Barbara Sischy (/siː'sʃi/)[1] (March 2, 1952 – July 24, 2015) was a South African-born American writer and editor who specialized in covering art, photography, and fashion.[2] Sischy rose to prominence as the editor of Artforum between 1979 and 1988. Her status and power, aided by her connections and friendships with many in the art and fashion communities, was cemented during her tenure as the editor-in-chief of Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine between 1989 and 2008.[3][4] Until her death in 2015, she and her partner, Sandra Brant, worked together as the international editors of the Italian, Spanish, and German versions of Vanity Fair.[5][6]

Ingrid Sischy
Ingrid Barbara Sischy

(1952-03-02)March 2, 1952
DiedJuly 24, 2015(2015-07-24) (aged 63)
Art critic
Years active1978–2015
Known forArtforum (1979–1988)
The New Yorker (1988–1996)
Interview (1989–2008)
Vanity Fair (1997–2015)
Spouse(s)Sandra Brant

Early lifeEdit

Sischy was born in Johannesburg to Ben Sischy, a family doctor who became an expert in radiation oncology, and Claire Sischy, a speech therapist. She had two older brothers, Mark Sischy, a lawyer who lived in Scotland, and David Sischy, a doctor.[7][8] Her family was Jewish; they had Lithuanian ancestry.[9][10]

In 1961, when Sischy was nine years old, the Sischy family left Apartheid-era South Africa after the Sharpeville massacre and moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, where Dr. Sischy re-trained as a radiologist. The family had had to leave South Africa because Sischy's mother was in danger of being arrested for her involvement in an activist group, the Black Sash, that non-violently protested Apartheid. In 1967, the family moved to Rochester, New York, where Sischy's father became the head of radiation oncology at Highland Hospital.[11]

While in Scotland, Sischy attended George Watson's Ladies College. In Rochester, she graduated from Brighton High School, where she was the president of the senior class.[10][12] Sischy started college at Sarah Lawrence College during a time of great political unrest in the United States.[13] It was there that she came out as a lesbian. She also took writing classes with Grace Paley.[10] She graduated from Sarah Lawrence in 1973.[10]

She received an honorary PhD in the humanities from the Moore College of Art in 1987.[14]


After graduating from college, Sischy took a series of odd jobs and entry-level positions in the art world, including at galleries. She became the circulation coordinator at Print Collector's Newsletter, an art world industry resource, and was quickly promoted to the role of editor, contributing reviews of works she saw in the burgeoning New York City art world. She was hired, and almost immediately fired, by the Guggenheim Museum in New York, where the dress code and atmosphere made her feel untrue to herself.[12] She then worked at Printed Matter, Inc, a nonprofit book publisher that introduced her to artists like Sol LeWitt, Jenny Holzer, and many up and coming artists.[10]

Museum of Modern ArtEdit

In 1978, Sischy interned at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) under a National Endowment for the Arts curation grant, where she focused on curating photography exhibits, one called "In the Twenties: Portraits From the Photography Department", and another on photographer Ansel Adams. During this time, she was mentored by John Szarkowski. the Director of the Department of Photography at MoMA.[10]


In 1979, at the age of 27, Sischy was appointed editor-in-chief of Artforum magazine by businessman and publisher Anthony Korner and Amy Baker Sandback. Sischy immediately tapped into the vibrant downtown art scene and created innovative, avant-garde covers[15] and highly stylized content, often written by artists, that created a new standard for art magazines.[16][17] Over her eight-year editorship, Sischy transformed the once-esoteric Artforum into the so-called "art world bible" it is today.[10][18] Sischy herself became known as a tastemaker and something of an icon, and was profiled at length by the critic and journalist Janet Malcolm in The New Yorker.[19][20][21]

The New YorkerEdit

She left Artforum in 1988 to become a consulting editor at The New Yorker and work on in-depth research on the AIDS virus, which had begun to decimate the downtown artist community.[10] From 1988-96, she worked at The New Yorker, reporting on fashion and art.[22]

Interview Magazine|InterviewEdit

In 1989, Sischy took over as editor of Interview, a downtown magazine founded by Andy Warhol in 1969.[10] During her tenure at Interview, covers of the magazine became iconic, promoting artists, actors, and fashion icons from the art world.[23]

In 1996, she was named Artistic Director of the inaugural Florence Fashion Biennale, where she created an exhibition that showed work in 20+ museums in the Florence, Italy area.[14] Part of this exhibition was later presented at the Guggenheim Museum Soho.[24][25]

In 2008, Sischy resigned from Interview Magazine amidst much press and speculation.[26][27][28]

Vanity Fair (magazine)|Vanity FairEdit

Sischy was a contributing editor to Vanity Fair from 1997 until her death in 2015.[5][6] She was the international editor of Condé Nast, writing for the Spanish, French, and Italian versions of Vanity Fair, and the German and Russian versions of Vogue.[29]

She shared this position with her long-time partner and later wife, Sandra Brant.[30][31]

Other activitiesEdit

Sischy was a member of an all-female art band called Disband, founded in 1978 by artists and writers.[32][33] She was featured in the 2011 documentary film called !Women Art Revolution, where she discussed her contributions to the feminist movement of female artists in the 1970s.[34]

She was a widely published author on a range of cultural subjects. She contributed to a broad range of periodicals, including The New York Times and Vanity Fair and was at one time the fashion and photography critic for The New Yorker.[35]

In 2013, Sischy was given the "Fashion Scoop of the Year" Award (for her Vanity Fair piece on John Galliano) at the Fashion Media Awards by her friend, photographer Bruce Weber.[36]

Personal lifeEdit

Although she was in at least one long-term relationship with a woman from the time she was in college, it was a New Yorker review of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe photography show, "The Perfect Moment," where Sischy came out publicly as a lesbian.[10][37]

Sischy described the chronic battles of her brother, Mark Sischy, with alcoholism in her interview with designer John Galliano, who was newly sober.[38]

In 2015, Sischy married her longtime partner of over 25 years, Sandra Brant (née Simms).[39][14]

Brant was formerly married to Brant Publications' owner, Peter M. Brant, who was the publisher of Interview Magazine.[27] Ingrid Sischy and Sandra Brant lived in Montauk, the farthest point east on the southern shores of Long Island, in a cottage designed by Stanford White, and in a town house in Greenwich Village.[5] They were godmothers to Elton John and David Furnish's son.[1][39]


Sischy died on 24 July 2015 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from breast cancer at the age of 63.[5][14]

Works and publicationsEdit


  • Mapplethorpe, Robert, Ingrid Sischy, Richard Howard, and Richard Marshall. Robert Mapplethorpe. London: Secker & Warburg, 1991. ISBN 978-0-436-27361-2 OCLC 24668296
  • Wegman, William, and Ingrid Sischy. Fashion Photographs. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 1999. ISBN 978-0-810-92944-9 OCLC 41951322
  • Sischy, Ingrid. Albert Watson: The Vienna album. Munich: Schirmer Mosel, 2005. ISBN 978-3-829-60215-0 OCLC 492588389
  • Sischy, Ingrid. Donna Karan, New York. New York: Assouline, 2005. ISBN 978-2-843-23713-3 OCLC 71147754
  • Sischy, Ingrid. Created Equal: Mark Laita. Göttingen: Steidl, 2008. ISBN 978-3-865-21709-7 OCLC 758790716
  • Von Unwerth, Ellen, and Ingrid Sischy. Fräulein. 2009, 2015. ISBN 978-3-836-55556-2 OCLC 893896042

Selected feature articlesEdit

Other worksEdit

  • Granet, Ilona, Donna Henes, Ingrid Sischy, Diane Torr, Martha Wilson, Barbara Ess, Daile Kaplan, Barbara Kruger, and Cornelia H. Butler. Disband: 1978–1982. Los Angeles: 2008. (video recording) OCLC 828733411
  • Disband. Disband New York, NY: Primary Information, 2009. (CD) OCLC 849685952
  • Hershman-Leeson, Lynn, Kyle Stephan, Alexandra Chowaniec, Spain, Krista Lynes, Claire Daigle, and Fiona Summers. W.A.R. Women Art Revolution. New York: Zeitgeist Films, 2010. (documentary) OCLC 878431909


  1. ^ a b Fox, Margalit (24 July 2015). "Ingrid Sischy, Doyenne of Art and Fashion, Dies at 63". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  2. ^ Roche, Eddie (24 July 2015). "Remembering Ingrid Sischy". Daily Front Row. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  3. ^ Wolff, Michael (23 October 2000). "This Media Life: Fametown". New York. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  4. ^ Brait, Ellen (24 July 2015). "Ingrid Sischy, longtime editor of Interview magazine, dies at age 63". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d Carter, Graydon (24 July 2015). "Ingrid Sischy: An Appreciation". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  6. ^ a b Pérez-Peña, Richard (18 March 2008). "Condé Nast Names 2 for European Ventures". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  7. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths – Sischy, Benjamin". The New York Times. 27 September 2000. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Highland Hospital: Radiation Oncology" (PDF). Highland Hospital, University of Rochester Medical School. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  9. ^ New York Magazine: "Fametown - We always suspected celebrity was a place where all the stars know each other and have dinner together. We were right -- and it's Ingrid Sischy's hometown." by Michael Wolff 2016
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Smith, Dinitia (29 January 1990). "After Andy: Ingrid Sischy, Queen of the Downtown Art Scene, Takes over at Interview". New York. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  11. ^ "South African-born Dr. Benjamin Sischy dies at age 82". Bangla2000. Associated Press. 4 October 2000. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  12. ^ a b Lemon, Brendan (5 March 1996). "Sense and Sensibility". The Advocate. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  13. ^ Zerbib, Kathy (25 July 2015). "Ingrid Sischy, Fashion Writer and Longtime Interview Magazine Editor, Dead at 63". The Wrap. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  14. ^ a b c d Lockwood, Lisa (25 July 2015). "Ingrid Sischy Dies at 63". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  15. ^ Horgan, Richard (25 July 2015). "Ingrid Sischy's First Magazine Cover". Adweek. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Ingrid Sischy (1952–2015)". Artforum. 24 July 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  17. ^ Saltz, Jerry (24 July 2015). "Ingrid Sischy, Artforum Maestro: 1952–2015". Vulture. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  18. ^ Waxman, Lori. "The year in visual art was a dizzying reflection of today". Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  19. ^ Malcolm, Janet (20 October 1986). "A Girl of the Zeitgesit – Part I". The New Yorker. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  20. ^ Malcolm, Janet (27 October 1986). "A Girl of the Zeitgesit – Part II". The New Yorker. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  21. ^ "Ingrid Sischy in The New Yorker". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  22. ^ Rothman, Joshua (25 July 2015). "Ingrid Sischy in The New Yorker". The New Yorker. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  23. ^ "Interview magazine's best covers under Ingrid Sischy – in pictures". The Guardian. 24 July 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  24. ^ Spindler, Amy M (15 September 1996). "Fashion as Art. Or Maybe Not". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  25. ^ Smith, Roberta (14 March 1997). "Serious Side of an Infatuation With Fashion". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  26. ^ "Renowned Editor of Interview Magazine Ingrid Sischy Resigns After 18 Years". PR Newswire. 23 January 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  27. ^ a b Ryzik, Melena (25 January 2008). "Magazine Started by Warhol Names Editorial Directors". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  28. ^ Koblin, John (24 January 2008). "Interview Editor Ingrid Sischy Quits". Observer. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  29. ^ "Ingrid Sischy on Cindy Sherman's Untitled #479, 1975". Walker Art Center. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  30. ^ "Ingrid Sischy and Sandra Brant to Helm 'Vanity Fair' Abroad". New York. 17 March 2008. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  31. ^ Fury, Alexander (25 July 2015). "Ingrid Sischy: A tribute to the magazine editor who showed no vanity, but lots of flair". The Independent. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  32. ^ "Disband – Press Release" (PDF). Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  33. ^ Feldman, Alaina Claire (2012). "Disband". dis. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  34. ^ Hershman Leeson, Lynn. "!Women Art Revolution".
  35. ^ Silver, Dena (24 July 2015). "Remembering Ingrid Sischy Through Her Most Memorable Stories". Observer. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  36. ^ "Bruce Weber presenting to Ingrid Sischy for "Fashion Scoop of the Year:" Fashion Media Awards 2013". Look TV. 7 September 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  37. ^ Sischy, Ingrid (13 November 1989). "Photography White and Black". The New Yorker. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  38. ^ Sischy, Ingrid (July 2013). "Galliano in the Wilderness". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  39. ^ a b Curtis, Nick (12 January 2011). "Meet the godparents of Elton John's new baby". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 26 July 2015.

External linksEdit