Françoise Mouly Discusses New Yorker Covers

Françoise Mouly has been The New Yorker’s Arts Editor for almost two decades, so she has seen her fair share of covers. In an interview with Salon, she explains the process for selecting the artwork and it’s well worth a read.

We love the Barry Blitt cover on the right, but Mouly says it was rejected because the Mentos and Diet Coke reference — when mixed exciting things happen — was deemed to obscure.

Here are a few other highlights from the Salon piece.

On what makes for a good cover:

What I’m really looking for are ideas that come from the artists on topics that will give us a sign of the era that we live in and, as a collection of images, will collect a picture of our time.

On why Blitt listens to Rush Limbaugh:

It’s a fascinating portrayal of America. It’s not useful to just say, ‘He’s a bad fat asshole,’ and shield yourself from this, because you’ll only preach to the converted if you’re not listening to what’s being said.

On reader reaction to one of the most hated covers, a 1996 Blitt illustration of two sailors kissing:

We are the New Yorker, but New York magazine got thousands of emails of people protesting the cover. Because New York, New Yorker — who knows? They just knew there was some cover they didn’t like. Some of them might not even have seen it.