Saturday, June 15, 2013

New Voting Machines: Arthur Getz Preliminary New Yorker Cover Art

New York City's new voting booths must have been a source of anxiety when they were first introduced. A rare Kodachrome slide of Arthur Getz's preliminary New Yorker cover artwork anticipating Election Day 1956 (Eisenhower vs. Stevenson for the second time, with the same result) shows a palpable tension in the voting center. Things are a bit calmer in the final, published version of the cover where the technical challenges of the new technology are being competently dealt with, albeit exclusively by men.

As it turned out, these clunkers were exceedingly reliable voting machines and they remained in use in the City until 2010. They have now been replaced with an annoying new multistep electronic voting system that uses a computer to generate somewhat archaic paper ballots which then have to be scanned optically. I don't imagine anyone likes this system, but that's what we have. The latest talk is that the now-beloved old lever voting machines may be taken out of cold storage one last time for the post-Bloomberg mayoral primary and likely subsequent runoff elections. Apparently the new state-of-the-art optical scanners are too slow to handle the expected volume. I kid you not.

Given that this slide contains perhaps the only image of this unpublished artwork in existence, the use of the ridiculous watermark watermark is more than usually egregious. I suppose some eBay sellers will stop at nothing to prevent scoundrels like me from stealing their images.

Arthur Getz, Preliminary Artwork for The New Yorker, November 3, 1956

Arthur Getz, The New Yorker, November 3, 1956

Note:  I know of several instances like this one where Arthur Getz produced preliminary or alternate versions of published New Yorker covers. Anyone who would like to share an example of such a cover variation here on the blog is encouraged to contact me.

Art directors and editors at The New Yorker have been known to make occasional--ahem!--suggestions to the artists regarding the revision of their work prior to publication. While I'm always eager to publicize original New Yorker artwork on this blog, I also would love to include more variants of the published work. Can anybody help me out?


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