new-york

“Magazine Covers”

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

If you’ve ever bought a magazine because of its cover, then “Magazine Covers,” a fascinating survey of the development of this form of graphic expression, is for you. The show includes more than 140 examples of American and Western European publications from the last hundred years, and it reveals how magazine covers have responded directly and immediately to changing styles in art, to fads, and to shifts in reading habits. Magazines are very much creatures of capitalism, filling an industrialized culture’s need to know and reinforcing its understanding of information as power. Magazines also accommodate to the pick-and-choose situation of the capitalist marketplace, in which their covers function as buy-me signs; since the late 1880’s publishers, editors, and designers have worked long and hard at making eye-catching covers that also identify and differentiate one magazine from another.

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the November 1981 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.