Over the holidays, Financial Times arts writer Peter Aspden detailed his fondness for collecting copies of vintage Esquire magazine covers. The collection started with the one featuring Muhammad Ali famously posed by art director George Lois as Saint Sebastian, and most recently, saw the addition of another equally famous Lois cover.
Aspden has good taste. Those two covers – Ali and Warhol – were third and fifth on an ASME list of “The Top 40 Magazine Covers in the Past 40 Years.” Here’s part of what Lois told The Altantic about the making of the Warhol cover:
“Andy was a big fan of the [Esquire] covers. I knew him pretty well. I met him when I was 19-years-old – that was in 1950. At that time his name was Andy Warhola. He was a quiet kid. Did great drawings. Saturdays, after I played basketball, I used to go up to Madison Avenue to look at the art galleries. Andy used to be a scavenger walking up and down Madison Avenue looking for art. He had terrible taste. He used to buy things made yesterday morning being passed off as African art…”
“Andy said: ‘George, won’t you have to build a gigantic can?’ And I said, ‘Andy, what are you, a schmuck?’ This was before computers. I said, ‘Andy, we take a photo of a can, and photos of you looking like you’re drowning, and I take black and white stats and paste them together, and have it printed on one surface — the C-print, it was called in those days — as neatly as possible, and I re-touch it, and it looks like you’re drowning.’ He was amazed you could do that.”
If Banksy one day decides to come out by way of a magazine cover story, perhaps we’ll have a cover to rival the Warhol giant can. Until then, it remains pop-art unchallenged. Read Aspden’s column here.
[Image via: esquire.com]