What is The New Yorker? I know it’s a great magazine and that it’s a tremendous source of pleasure in my life. But what exactly is it? This blog’s premise is that The New Yorker is a work of art, as worthy of comment and analysis as, say, Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” Each week I review one or more aspects of the magazine’s latest issue. I suppose it’s possible to describe and analyze an entire issue, but I prefer to keep my reviews brief, and so I usually focus on just one or two pieces, to explore in each the signature style of its author. A piece by Nick Paumgarten is not like a piece by Dana Goodyear, and neither is like a piece by Ian Frazier. One could not mistake Finnegan for Friend, or Bilger for Lepore, or Collins for Khatchadourian. Each has found a style, and it is that style that I respond to as I read, and want to understand and describe.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Michael Crawford's "This Vodka Has Legs" Drawings

Drawing by Michael Crawford

Reading David Remnick’s tribute to Michael Crawford in this week’s issue, I was reminded of Arthur Lubow’s great “This Vodka Has Legs” (The New Yorker, September 12, 1994), which Crawford illustrated. Lubow’s piece is a fascinating inside look at the creation of an ad campaign – Stolichnaya’s “Freedom of Vodka.” Crawford’s drawings sketch scenes of various meetings between the advertising agency (Margeotes, Fertitta, Donaher & Weiss) and the client (Carillon Importers). My favorite shows a presentation of a “comp” (a provisional ad) to Carillon’s president, Michel Roux, and two other Carillon executives, in which one of Margeotes’s presenters says, “I think it’s important that we look at this holistically” (see above). “This Vodka Has Legs” deserves preservation in book form. Maybe someday, it will appear in a collection of Lubow’s journalism. If it does, I hope Crawford’s drawings are included.  

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