Mouly explained, in a wonderfully chi chi french accent, that it's all about dialogue. It's a general interest magazine, too, so all manner of topics can be covered. If they want to do cooking, they can; but they can also do golf and politics. Weee!
In 1993 Tina Brown sought to revive the dying New Yorker magazine. She brought in artists like Ed Sorrell and Art Spiegelman (Mouly's husband) to inject some life into it.
One of the first and most controversial covers was by Spiegelman, who depicted a Hasidic Jew kissing an African American woman in a style evocative of Marc Chagall. It caused an instant firestorm. A hundred thousand subscribers fled, but even more joined. The goal? 'Lower the reading age down from eighty-three and a half... to eighty-two and a half.'
|Spiegelman's explosive cover
|Chris Ware's sequential take on Tulley
Most artists make regular submissions of ideas. Mouly tells them to 'think of her as their priest.' Feel free to show me anything. Don't self-censor. Let the creative mind roam free.
|Thought provoking, beautiful image by Anita Kunz
|Lorenzo Mattotti, one of my favourites
Some covers are over analyzed for meaning. Frank Viva described a piece where he placed a white figure over a black background and a black pigeon over white background. People wondered about hidden meaning, racial subtext, but he often changes colours to fit the composition, and there was no hidden meaning. He just wanted the elements to pop forward.
|Frank Viva's striking, graphic work
Artists submit to her constantly: ideas, sketches, doodles, thoughts. Most don't wind up on the cover, but you can get a glimpse behind the curtain at her hit blog: Blown Covers.