New York Magazine December 6-19, 2021

In the Apr. 15–28 issue: Olivia Nuzzi on “wonder boy” Pete Buttigieg. Plus: Art & Design, by Wendy Goodman; the half-billion dollar “Leonardo”; Natasha Lyonne, Annette Bening, and more.

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3 Min

1 “Eleven months into his term, and a year from a midterm election that appears likely to end his legislative majority, the cold reality for Biden is that his presidency is on the brink of failure,” Jonathan Chait wrote in New York’s latest cover story (“Biden in Free Fall,” November 22–December 5). The Atlantic’s Tom Nichols responded, “Okay, Democrats. You didn’t like hearing it from Bill Maher, or from Never Trumpers. Maybe you’ll read this and finally hit the panic button before next year.” Matthew Yglesias, author of the popular Substack Slow Boring, called the essay “brilliant” and noted, “The one thing I’d add is what’s missing—the once-strong voice of labor unions.” Some on the progressive left were critical of Chait’s diagnosis. Waleed Shahid of Justice Democrats accused Chait of…

6 Min
the body politic : rebecca traister the betrayal of roe decades of neglect have brought abortion rights to the precipice.

THE AFTERMATH OF the Supreme Court’s oral arguments last week on the fate of Roe v. Wade—in which a phalanx of right-wing justices made plain their disdain for the law—has been a festival of finger-pointing and recrimination by those who were startled to have woken up in a world where it looks very much as if the right to legal abortion care will soon cease to exist at the federal level. I understand the impulse to point fingers at individuals and have myself felt the gratification that comes from naming the villain responsible for a mess. It feels so very good, in such a very bad time, to hate Donald Trump, as well as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and Ruth Bader Ginsburg and, somehow, Susan Sarandon. This was, surely, their…

2 Min
the group portrait: rick’s kids a secretish society of rick owens obsessives.

IN 2014, MICHAEL SMITH was 19 and living in Arizona when he was introduced to the avant-garde fashion designer Rick Owens. “My friend showed me a pair of shoes, and I hated them,” he says. “Six months later, I thought, Oh, those are kind of cool. Then another six months later, it was like, If I don’t own these shoes, I’m gonna die.” Within two years, the designer made up 90 percent of his wardrobe, and Smith had found his place in a community of devoted Rick Owens fans and collectors, hosted on the instant-messaging app Discord (it had begun as a thread on 4chan before going private in 2016). Members of Rick Owens Discord, or ROD, convene to discuss new collections and share eBay links. They also like to…

6 Min
jamian juliano-villani

ON A RECENT Wednesday night, O’Flaherty’s, a new art gallery named for an imaginary Irish pub, had an opening. The storefront space, which has a neon sign in the window reading WHAT’S WRONG?, shares its block on Avenue C with a community garden, a dentist’s office, and a Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall, far from the decorous, museumlike megagalleries of West Chelsea. In the most overheated, self-serious, and asset-hungry contemporary-art market the world has likely ever known, O’Flaherty’s has so far sold nothing; it’s hard to say if that’s on purpose. By a little after 7 p.m., the gallery had filled with casually tattered, unmasked young people, and everything was bathed in a radioactive glow. “Black light is very important,” said Jamian Juliano-Villani, a rising-star artist herself who is one of…

6 Min
tomorrow : david wallace-wells waiting for omicron the new covid-19 variant is here. are we prepared for it?

THE NEWS DOESN’T seem great. Throughout the pandemic, the World Health Organization has declared four “variants of concern”; Omicron is the fifth. The variant was first identified in November, and the picture remains murky on matters of transmissibility, virulence, and immune evasion—all the important questions. While there are some encouraging signs that the new variant may be less immune evasive than had been feared—that the vaccines may hold up pretty well against it, and that observed breakthrough infections remain, at least among the young, mostly mild—there is some analysis suggesting escape potential could be “substantial,” and there is enough alarming news on each point to have rattled many epidemiologists and prompted new public-health interventions, including the possibility of tighter travel restrictions and insurance reimbursement for anyone buying at-home antigen tests. It…

5 Min
because new york makes the movies and the movies makes new york

OSCAR SEASON IN NEW YORK is always packed with sentimental movie galas, but it’s safe to say the November premiere of Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story was more emotional than most. The film had been sitting on a shelf, waiting to meet its public for a whole year (its initial release date had been December 18, 2020), and the original show’s lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, had died three days before. As Spielberg took the Rose Theater stage at Lincoln Center to pay tribute to his legendary friend and colleague and introduce his film, he prefaced his remarks by thanking Bob Iger, the former CEO of Disney (the parent company of 20th Century Studios), for deciding not to release the film on Disney+ and to wait until it could safely open in…