Magazine article USA TODAY

The Art of the New Yorker: The 80-Year-Old Magazine "Is the Only Remaining Wide-Circulation Publication That Still Relies on Freestanding Illustrated Covers."

Magazine article USA TODAY

The Art of the New Yorker: The 80-Year-Old Magazine "Is the Only Remaining Wide-Circulation Publication That Still Relies on Freestanding Illustrated Covers."

Article excerpt

YOU MAY NOT be able to judge a book by its cover, but the reverse is true for a magazine. A magazine's over broadcasts its personality and the rest of the issue backs it up. A fascinating new exhibition, "The Art of The New Yorker: Eighty Years in the Vanguard." features 63 illustrators' more than 130 original works of art created for the covers of the venerable New Yorker, from the magazine's launch in 1925 to today.

The New Yorker is the only remaining wide-circulation publication that still relies on freestanding illustrated covers. Each week, readers eagerly anticipate the arrival of the latest issue and the art on its cover. The exhibition presents a snapshot of eight decades of culture, art, business, and politics. The magazine maintains that its mission is "to report and reflect on the world at large with wit, sophistication, and originality" and its distinctive covers have become a meaningful part of America's cultural dialogue.

Guest curator Francoise Mouly, art editor at The New Yorker, is responsible for selecting the illustrations that are being exhibited. "It's the quality of the visual comment that makes a cover feel like a New Yorker cover. The fact that it actually has something to say and says it so well," he says. "Putting drawings on the cover of The New Yorker keeps artists at the center of the cultural dialogue, and I can't think of a better place for them to be."

The exhibition also showcases a lively examination of related themes, including "The History of The New Yorker"; "Creating the Art of The New Yorker": and an exploration of how the covers are created, selected, and scheduled. Moreover, a special section, "American Storytellers: Norman Rockwell and Saul Steinberg," compares the work of two quintessential cover artists--Rockwell and his creations for The Saturday Evening Post and Steinberg for The New Yorker.

"Norman Rockwell called The Saturday Evening Post 'the greatest show window in America for an artist,'" notes Laurie Norton Moffatt, director of the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Mass. "The same holds true for artists whose work appears on the cover of The New Yorker. They comment on our changing world each week with images that are seen by millions--revealing the look, the manners, and the mores of each passing scene. …

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