David Macaulay | Lowered Expectations | Cover illustration from The New Yorker (September 19, 2011)| Courtesy The New Yorker, www.newyorker.com. All rights reserved.


Acclaimed Illustrator and Norman Rockwell Museum Artist Laureate David Macaulay has created the cover for this week’s New Yorker. Known for his many architectural books and helping us to learn “the way things work,” Macaulay tackles the timely issue of the United States Postal Service and its uncertain future.

The striking cover features a New York City tour bus passing by the city’s main post office, where a man on a scaffolding is adding additional comments to the building’s famous inscription. On the New Yorker’s website, Macaulay explains that “Every time I come out of Penn Station, I look at that post office with the wonderful phrase ‘Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds…’ I just saw these empty spaces at the end of the building and I thought, ‘Well at least they have space to make corrections.”

Macaulay’s illustration brings to mind his wonderful series of architecture books, which includes Cathedral, Castle, and Mosque; and charming illustrated books Rome Antics and Angelo. His original work was featured in the 2004 Norman Rockwell Museum exhibition Building Books: The Art of David Macaulay, which went on to travel the nation. On Saturday, September 24, 2011, he will receive the Museum’s 2011-2012 Artist Laureate honor during a special awards ceremony from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Click here to learn more about the event, and how to attend and meet the artist (all proceeds support Norman Rockwell Museum).

In 2000, Norman Rockwell Museum paid tribute to the United States Postal Service with the exhibition Pushing The Envelope: The Art of The Postage Stamp; and in 2005 presented The Art of the “New Yorker:” Eighty Years in the Vanguard. Read the New Yorker. Read the New Yorker blog about the latest cover, and enjoy a series of 14 post office-themed illustrations that have appeared on the venerable publication’s cover since 1927.

By Jeremy Clowe, Manager of Media Services, Norman Rockwell Museum