NEW YORK MOVES: New York’s art director Michael Picon has left the magazine. Though sources said there was “no grand screaming match” between Picon and editor Caroline Miller, things were said to have grown tense when Roger Black was tapped to consult for a short-term basis on what a spokeswoman called “new cover strategies.”

Making matters more complicated, a source said: “Many of the changes Black’s people were pushing for were the same things he’d [Picon] been after. The whole thing just sort of highlighted that he’d been there long enough.”

This story first appeared in the July 2, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In a statement, Miller said: “I’ve enjoyed working with Michael for several years, including a very successful redesign of the magazine.”

Elsewhere in New York magazine news, it had to deep six at the last minute its Summer Fun cover of Tom Hanks because the photograph didn’t come out well. Sources said he looked puffy and was squinting, but New York would only confirm part of that. “The photograph was shot on the beach and the sunlight was in Mr. Hanks’ eyes. He was squinting,” she said. Hanks was shot in a car with a surfboard. The spokeswoman said Hanks didn’t want to re-shoot it. “They just weren’t flattering, and we knew he wouldn’t like them. We went with a girl wearing a bikini.” The cover featured Elite mode Marianna Petrovskaia instead. The double issue hit newsstands June 17.

PR SHUFFLE: Sharon Schieffer, deputy director of public relations for Vanity Fair for the past five years, has resigned. She plans to travel and freelance. Her successor hasn’t been named yet.

Meantime, over at Hearst Magazines, Lilly Root, former director of public relations, has joined Rolex in a similar position. She is succeeded by Jessica Kleiman, formerly senior manager of public relations, who in turn has been replaced by Elizabeth Dye. She will be replaced by Nathan Christopher, manager, public relations at the Magazine Publishers of America, who joins Hearst on Monday.

V AT VERSAILLES: The couture-drenched palace partygoers at the American Friends of Versailles benefit June 22 were not amused by an eye-popping V magazine photo shoot featuring Jacquetta Wheeler and Natasha Vojnovic, shot by lensman Jason Schmidt. Evidently, the chain-mail Prada, Jil Sander pleated top (sans skirt), and wacky Hussein Chalayan outfits worn by the free-ranging models didn’t quite mesh with the floor-length ball gowns all the non-V guests were wearing.

“When the invitation was extended for us to shoot on the grounds and during the party, they neglected to inform us of the `strict formal dress code,”‘ explained V editor-in-chief Alix Browne. “But I think that Marie Antoinette would have approved.” The spread will be running in the September issue.

THE WEAKEST LINK: Media types are flaunting their know-how at a new trivia showdown on Tuesday nights at the Baggot Inn on West 3rd Street in New York. Under the guises of such team names as “The Access of Evil Knievel,” quiz kids from People magazine, the New York Post and other publications have turned out in recent weeks. “People who like to show off their knowledge tend to gravitate to our trivia night, but it’s not an insider-ish type thing. You could just read the newspaper,” said Dawn Eden, a part-time copy editor at the Post and organizer of the weekly event with Caren Lissner.

MUSIC FOR MODELS: DJ compilations geared to the fashion industry are all the rage, as any Dimitri from Paris or Hotel Costes fan knows already. The genre is getting more specific this summer with specific mixes geared to models. DJ’s Charles Schillings and Felix will be mixing a double CD compilation for the Elite Model Look contest, where will 300,000 girls from around the country competing for 15 spots at the agency. The contest will be held in Tunis on Sept. 6, and the CD will be released commercially at the beginning of October with the contest’s 15 winners featured on its cover.

On the double CD, Schillings will mix the “daytime” set while Felix will handle the “night-time” mix — because, as we all know, models are complex beings with two, and sometimes even three, moods per day.

A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY: Stepping off the links for more of an unexpected pitch, Nike Golf is using the voices of Nancy Sinatra and Glen Campbell for its new campaign for its precision power distance golf balls. Building on last summer’s “Ball Go Far” campaign, created by Wieden & Kennedy, this year’s version include print ads, radio spots, TV commercials, blimps and aerial banners. The effort gets underway July 8 with radio spots.

“We wanted to do something a little different. Golfers come from all walks of life,” a Nike Golf spokesman said.

PHOTO SESSION: Ross Bleckner is known for his beautiful paintings — he has worked in oils, watercolors, ink and gouache — but he also takes photographs. “I did a few fashion shoots for Empire magazine,” said Bleckner. “It’s a little hobby.”

That little hobby has been taking on greater proportions of late. First, Bleckner photographed the annual report for the drug company Human Genome Sciences, which also used his paintings as illustrations. Now, he’s shot a fashion story for Fashions of the Times that comes out in September. At the behest of Amy Spindler, style editor of the Times magazine, Bleckner shot four young artists wearing an array of looks. The artists include Isca Greenfield-Sanders, whose multimedia paintings depict one extended family’s vacations; Casey Cook, a painter whose work is shown at Lehmann Maupin gallery; Mirabelle Marden, the daughter of artist Brice Marden, and Dana Schultz, whom Bleckner describes as a “very young, very talented painter.” Did we mention that all the artists are photogenic?

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