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Help Me Out, Alex Ross (Or Anybody Else)

Filed under: The Squib Report   Tagged: , ,

My mom is from Austria. I lived in Vienna for three years after college. I’m more than tolerably familiar with the Wiener Werkstätte, used to go to the MAK all the time, been to Otto Wagner’s famous Kirche am Steinhof several times (I call it the “Narrenkirche”—Narr means “fool,” the church is located in a mental health facility).

All of which helps explain why the cover of Alex Ross’s new book The Rest is Noise was so deeply familiar to me. I grew up with images just like this around the house. I “knew” exactly what work that referenced. I also “knew” that I’d be able to Google the referent in a couple of minutes, at most.

Well, I was wrong about that. I never was able to track down the original, and it wasn’t for lack of effort.

So I am reduced to this: Alex (or anybody else): where have I seen the cover of your book before? First person to supply the answer will receive a handsome selection of stickers featuring utterly obscure Austrian soccer players (I am so not kidding about this). —Martin Schneider


Oh! Martin! Good question!

But I think you may have gotten yourself into one of those situations where there is no single referent, no original, but instead an endless series of lovely repetitions …

I might be wrong. I sort of hope I am. Good luck to you.

I must concede that it is a distinct possibility. You may be right that there is no single referent … and yet Ross and the designer of the cover did set out to mimic something.

At this point I would accept anything close — one thing I should do is go through my art books, it might be in there somewhere … .

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