Esopus features a cross-section of creative disciplines presented in a striking visual format with minimal editorial framing and no advertising.
This presentation gives readers the opportunity to access a wide range of cultural expression with the least possible interference and attracts and engages general readers who might not otherwise pick up this kind of publication.
Content for Esopus is selected using 1) an open submissions policy; 2) recommendations and suggestions from the publication’s board of advisors; and 3) Lippy's 28 years’ experience of working in the art, film, and publishing fields of New York City.
Their goal has been to invite individuals representing a wide range of cultural, geographic, and aesthetic backgrounds to provide a more comprehensive picture of contemporary creative expression.
Each issue of Esopus includes long-form contemporary artists’ projects by established artists (such as Ed Ruscha, Jenny Holzer, and Kerry James Marshall) and emerging figures. Projects take the form of removable posters, booklets, foldouts, and hand-assembled sculptures, and have often utilized complex printing processes, unique paper stocks, and specially formulated inks. Issues also typically present personal reflections on various creative disciplines by practitioners, including film composer Carter Burwell, novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard, lighting designer Jennifer Tipton, and Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, among many others.
Also featured in nearly every issue is a portfolio of undiscovered work, from the riveting photographs of Mark Hogancamp to the WWII–era gouache portraits of Holocaust survivor Samuel Varkovitsky. Along with a sampling of short plays, visual essays, film excerpts, poetry, and fiction by never-before-published authors, issues contain installments of several regular series, including “Modern Artifacts,” for which undiscovered treasures from the Museum of Modern Art Archives are reproduced in facsimile, “Guarded Opinions,” which features museum guards’ commentaries on the art they oversee; and “Public Access,” co-presented with the New York Public Library and showcasing never-before-seen items from the Library’s storied collections.
Each issue of Esopus concludes with a themed audio compilation, for which musicians are invited to contribute a new song based on a particular theme.