Double issue of Sempé Fi today. Now we’re going to look at Ivan Brunetti’s cover for the May 31, 2010 issue of The New Yorker. It’s called “Union Square,” and depicts this New York landmark crowded with Brunetti’s typically diminutive, big-headed figures (Brunetti’s covers are easily recognizable). Even Henry Kirke Brown’s 1856 equestrian statue of George Washington is re-imagined in Brunettian form.
Union Square is usually the focal point for political protests. Brunetti’s Union Square has many people, but only of them can be described as a protestor: she wars a bandanna and holds a sign calling for the ban of something.
The point Brunetti is making is that the call for political action is drowned out by multiple iPods, Bluetooths, and headphones and the steady uproar of daily life. A man strums a guitar, a ponytailed yuppie whizzes by on a Segway, kids play, a man in a purple dinosaur suit hands out ads. As if emphasizing his point, Brunetti’s cover depicts the strings of a large guitar on its left margin. Brunetti’s lone protestor is engulfed by the park and by the skyline.
Who is listening to the protestor? No one. No one is up in arms because everyone’s arms are full with the needs and rhythms of daily life.
Hello! I’m Emily Gordon, a content strategist, critic, and copywriter. Emdashes, born in 2004, spent its formative years as a New Yorker fan blog. (The project garnered some nice compliments and press.) It’s now a collection of conversations—generally civilized—about punctuation, magazines, movies, design, and other things that stir me.
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