Running the largest young women’s media brand in the world takes ingenuity, finesse, brilliant biz skills, editorial acumen, adaptability, and a razor sharp perspective, among other rare attributes. Cosmopolitan Editor-in-Chief Jessica Pels has all that in spades, with a generous side of style. Just take a look at the 20x200 artworks she picked out for her newly revamped office. Martha Rich’s deliciously decisive I said no. makes an appearance alongside Ruben Natal-San Miguel’s Glamour Break Diva (#2). Quite the power couple, hung right in front of Pels’ desk for straight-on daily adoring. Adding our limited-editions to the recipe, her overall art and decor decisions exhibit wit, range and a well-defined aesthetic—plus, a refreshingly adventurous approach to color mixing.
Today, we're thrilled to share Pels' thoughts on 20x200 prints in particular and art in general. Her edition choices and answers for our 5+5 interview were as cool, clever, and fun as we could have hoped for. Her print picks run the gamut from contemporary fashion photography to vintage astronomy—which is all the more interesting when you consider that she also shared with us her highly selective process for collecting art to hang in her home or workplace. Reading her reflections, it’s clear that Pels prefers art that really resonates on a personal level, and it’s equally clear that her discernment leads to some spectacular results. In her 5+5, she talks stargazing, avant garde art, visionary women, peremptory family pets, and more. Get a taste below, then head over to the blog for the full feature. — Team 20x200
5 Perfect Picks
1) The Ten Largest, No. 7, Adulthood, Group IV by Hilma af Klint
Hilma af Klint was two things so many women are: visionary and undervalued. I love that her work was so ahead of its time, but mostly that it's an unapologetic exploration of colors and shapes that are attractive to the eye. It's just so pleasing to look at, and isn't that part of the point?
2) Untitled, Haute Couture (from the Out of Fashion series) by Landon Nordeman
This is so evocative of the chaos of Fashion Week (not to mention a nod to legendary fashion editor Grace Coddington, famous in part for her fiery red hair). I love too that it's such a vivid play on texture and color, and that it's framing a moment in between moments.
3) Glamour Break Diva (#2) by Ruben Natal-San Miguel
I have this hanging in my office right across from my desk—I love her attitude. There are so many things about this image that date it—the flip phone (!), the curlers, the cigarette—and yet it feels so vibrantly modern to me.
5) Visible Heavens, a 20x200 Space Edition
I've always loved staring up at the stars, and as I've gotten older, I've had reason to put more weight in the power of the cosmos. I'm also a bit of a space nerd (I'm currently obsessed with the augmented reality apps that let you analyze the stars and planets above you at night). There's just something magical to me about these.
5 Q's + 5 A's
1) What's your favorite museum?
The first time I went to P.S.1 was life-changing. There was a Børre Sæthre exhibit in which you walk through a series of rooms, through disorienting noise and darkness, and emerge into a white space with a quiet hum and a box in the center. There's a unicorn inside the box (a full-size horse) that you can only see at certain vantage points, when the cloudy glass in front of it gets clear. For some reason that was such an emotional experience for me, to feel that calm after the chaos.
2) What's your most coveted coffee table book?
I've had my eye on the Matt Zoller Seitz Wes Anderson Collection edition about the Grand Budapest Hotel—not my favorite movie but damn if it didn't look good.
3) Do you prefer a single statement piece or a salon wall?
Single statement piece.
4) If you could be reincarnated as an artist, who would you want to be?
This answer changes every day, but right now: Alex Prager.
5) We hear your office just got a little facelift—fun!—and you’ve now got a couple of framed 20x200 prints on your walls. What’s your approach to selecting art for your work space?
For me to want to look at something every day, I have to be truly obsessed with it. I take my time when choosing art to make sure my initial connection with the work doesn't die down.
The 411 on Jessica Pels
Jessica Pels is the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, the largest young women’s media brand in the world. In her hybrid role, she oversees the content and editorial operations for the magazine, web, social, video, and editorial innovation projects. Most recently, Pels served as the digital director of Cosmopolitan, where she led the site to its highest readership of all time. She also served as the digital director at Marie Claire, before which she worked in print as the features editor at Teen Vogue and held various editorial positions at Glamour. Pels is an alumna of New York University, where she earned a BFA in film production from Tisch School of the Arts. She hails from Atlanta, and now lives in Brooklyn.