For image-makers who want to learn to cut through the clutter of today’s information glut and quickly grab people’s attention, here’s a chance to learn from one of the true masters. The Museum of Modern Art in New York just announced a forthcoming exhibition, George Lois: The Esquire Covers from the 1960s and early ’70s. Along with large-scale prints of many of the final covers, the show will also show Lois’s original artwork for several of the designs, including the renowned picture of Andy Warhol drowning in a soup can (above), which illustrated a May 1969 story about the decline of the American avant-garde.
This shot is particularly clever because, in the days before Photoshop, Lois and photographer Carl Fischer created it out of two images — one with the can of soup (Fischer says they dropped marbles in it; Lois says it was a stone) and the other a posed portrait of Warhol (he said, “Oh greaaaaat,” Lois recalls). These were combined in a “C-print that was printed together and retouched,” Lois told Kurt Andersen in an interesting interview recently broadcast on NPR’s Studio 360. It will be fascinating to see the “images behind the icons” at the MoMA show — it runs from April 25 through March of 2009 (for a preview sampler of the Esquire covers you can go here).