Covers of the Week: Bernie and Sid, Both Vicious

By Stephanie Murg Comment

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This week, a Ponzi schemer and a punk rocker adorn our two favorite magazine covers of the week. First up, and a likely contender for Cover of the Year honors, is New York‘s oh-so-timely nod to both Oscar winner Heath Ledger and Bernie Madoff in a maniacal Joker illustration by Darrow (the brainchild of New York photo director Jody Quon). Inside, the feature by Steve Fishman puts “The Monster Mensch” under the microscope, revealing “a tic, a nervous schoolboy’s double blink, as if cleaning a windshield, and occasionally a stammer.” Also, despite his office’s perch in the John Burgee- and Philip Johnson-designed Lipstick Building, Madoff “couldn’t bear curves.”

“He was paranoid about them,” says one employee. In one office, he drank out of square drinking glasses, stored his pencils in square holders, tossed his trash into square cans. He insisted that the blinds align with window frames—”We used a tape measure,” says the employee. He liked computer screens to stand straight up and down.

Surely less a fan of the straight edge is our other cover subject of choice: one Simon John Ritchie, better known as Sid Vicious. Elizabeth Peyton‘s 1995 oil painting of the late Sex Pistols bassist fronts the February issue of Art in America, freshly redesigned as part of the impressive and ongoing overhaul of the Brant Publications stable. And while we’re not fans of Peyton’s work, writer Nadia Tscherny does a good job of describing her “rather spontaneous-looking technique,” achieved through “the application of diluted oil paint, which slides across the smoothly sanded gessoed supports like finger paint on glossy paper.”