George Clooney is spot-on as W Magazine's December/January 13.14 cover boy photographed by the prolific fashion photographer Emma Summerton, styling for the shoot is courtesy of Michael Kucmeroski. While in charge of the set design was Thomas Thurnauer.
What cultural icons have mattered most to you?
I grew up Catholic, and there were always religious icons that I’d see in church. The cross and the altar were big parts of my life. But when I was 10 years old, my father took me to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. I remember walking up those stairs and looking at this carved piece of marble that had nothing to do with a carved piece of marble. That statue said something to me about us as a society. In The Monuments Men, we question whether saving art is worth a life, and I would argue that the culture of a people represents life. When the Taliban destroy incredible pieces of architecture and art, or when American troops don’t protect museums in Iraq, you are seeing people losing their culture. And with the end of a country’s culture goes its identity. It’s a terrible loss, down to your bones.
Hitler was amassing an enormous art collection. Was he planning to open his own museum?
Yes—he wanted to build a Führer Museum. He had a model of it in the bunker with him! He wanted to steal all the great art in the world, and he was well on his way—during the war, he collected 5 million pieces. He also destroyed works he termed “degenerate art.” The Nazis took amazing Picassos and Klees and Mirós and burned them in the garden outside the Jeu de Paume museum in Paris. They wanted to prove that they were illegitimate and had to be destroyed. Hitler pulled off the greatest art heist in the history of the world—luckily, some of that art has been recovered.
Photography assistants: Dean Dodos, Charles Grauke, Alexandre Jaras
Fashion assistant: Anastasya Kolomytseva.
For more of the shoot and the complete interview log on to www.wmagazine.com