View of the World from 9th Avenue

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View of the World from 9th Avenue
Steinberg New Yorker Cover.png
Saul Steinberg's March 29, 1976 "View of the World from Ninth Avenue" cover of The New Yorker
Artist Saul Steinberg
Year 1975
Type Ink, pencil, colored pencil, and watercolor on paper
Dimensions 28 by 19 inches (71 cm × 48 cm)
Location Private collection

View of the World from 9th Avenue (sometimes A Parochial New Yorker's View of the World, A New Yorker's View of the World or simply View of the World) is a 1976 illustration by Saul Steinberg that served as the cover of the March 29, 1976, edition of The New Yorker. The work presents the view from Manhattan of the rest of the world showing Manhattan as the center of the world.

View of the World has been parodied by Ted Rall, Columbia Pictures, The New Yorker, The Economist and Mad Magazine, among others. The work has been imitated and printed without authorization in a variety of ways. The Columbia parody led to a ruling by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Steinberg v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. in favor of Steinberg because of copyright violations by Columbia Pictures. The work is regarded as one of the greatest magazine covers of recent generations and is studied by art students around the world.

Background[edit]

Saul Steinberg created 85 covers and 642 internal drawings and illustrations for The New Yorker,[1] including its March 29, 1976 cover, titled "View of the World from 9th Avenue".[2] This is regarded as his most famous work. It is considered an example of unintentional fame: Steinberg has noted that the type of fame that resulted from the work has diminished his significance to "the man who did that poster".[3] The work is sometimes referred to as A Parochial New Yorker's View of the World or A New Yorker's View of the World because it depicts a map of the world as seen by self-absorbed New Yorkers.[4][5] At one point The New Yorker applied for a copyright from the United States Copyright Office for the work. It assigned the copyright to Steinberg and subsequently reproduced posters of the painting.[5]

Detail[edit]

The illustration is split in two parts, with the bottom half of the image showing Manhattan's 9th Avenue, 10th Avenue, and the Hudson River (appropriately labeled), and the top half depicting the rest of the world. It is a westward view over 10th Avenue. The rest of the United States is the size of the three New York City blocks and is drawn as a rectangle bounded by North American neighbors Canada and Mexico, with a thin brown strip along the Hudson representing "Jersey", the names of five cities (Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Las Vegas; Kansas City; and Chicago) and three states (Texas, Utah, and Nebraska) scattered among a few rocks for the United States beyond New Jersey, which is in bolder font than the rest of the country beyond the Hudson. Washington, D.C. is depicted as a remote location near Mexico. The Pacific Ocean, perhaps half again as wide as the Hudson, separates the United States from three flattened land masses labeled China, Japan and Russia. Notably, the image depicts the world with a back turned to Europe, which is absent from the painting.[6]

The work is composed in ink, pencil, colored pencil, and watercolor on paper and measures 28 by 19 inches (71 cm × 48 cm).[7] When exhibiting this work along with alternate versions and sketches, the University of Pennsylvania summarized the work as a "bird's-eye view of the city from Ninth Avenue in a straight line westward, with space becoming ever more condensed..." They also described the work as a tongue-in-cheek view of the world.[8] New York interpreted the New York-centric mind's view of the rest of the world as a set of outer boroughs as iconic.[9] National Post journalist Robert Fulford described the perspective as one in which the entire world is a suburb of Manhattan.[10]

Parodies[edit]

View of the World has been imitated without authorization in a variety of ways.[3] The work has been imitated in postcard format by numerous municipalities, states and nations.[8] Fulford, writing in The National Post, noted that the metaphor of the world as a suburb of Manhattan was "understood and borrowed" by the whole world. Local artists, especially poster artists, presented similarly compelling depictions of their own provincial perceptions. Fulford demonstrated the prominence of this work by mentioning that a high school in suburban Ottawa made imitating View of the World an assignment in its graphic arts class. He also noted that the results of this assignment was a worldwide variety of global foci from which the students viewed the world.[10]

The illustration—humorously depicting New Yorkers' self-image of their place in the world, or perhaps outsiders' view of New Yorkers' self-image—inspired many similar works, including the poster for the 1984 film Moscow on the Hudson; that movie poster led to a lawsuit, Steinberg v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., 663 F. Supp. 706 (S.D.N.Y. 1987), which held that Columbia Pictures violated the copyright Steinberg held on his work.

On June 5, 2003, during the first term of George W. Bush's presidency, Ted Rall presented A View of the World from Pennsylvania Avenue as a Parody of View of the World from 9th Avenue in a Universal Press Syndicate editorial cartoon. He replaced the letters representing The New Yorker with The Bushie.[11]

The cover was later satirized by Barry Blitt for the cover of The New Yorker on October 6, 2008. The cover featured Sarah Palin looking out of her window seeing only Alaska, with Russia in the far background.[12]

The March 21, 2009 The Economist included a story entitled "How China sees the World" that presents a parody that is also an homage to the original image, but depicting the viewpoint from Beijing's Chang'an Avenue instead of Manhattan. A caption above the illustration reads "Illustration by Jon Berkeley (with apologies to steinberg and The New Yorker)". It accompanied an article that discussed the burgeoning Chinese economy at the time of the contemporary financial crisis.[13]

The October 1, 2012 cover of Mad Magazine satirized the problems with the September release of Apple Inc.'s iOS 6 mobile operating system which included Apple Maps, a replacement for Google Maps.[14][15] The work presents what View of the World might look like if one had relied upon the September 2012 version of Apple Maps to locate various landmarks.[14][16]

Critical review[edit]

On October 17, 2005, American Society of Magazine Editors unveiled its list of the top 40 magazine covers of the prior 40 years and ranked View of the World from 9th Avenue in fourth place. The listing stated that the work "...has come to represent Manhattan's telescoped perception of the country beyond the Hudson River. The cartoon showed the supposed limited mental geography of Manhattanites."[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Woo, Elaine (1999-05-14). "Saul Steinberg; Artist Best Known for Covers and Cartoons in the New Yorker". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  2. ^ "The New Yorker Cover, View of the World from 9th Avenue". Condé Nast and Art.com, Inc. 1976-03-29. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  3. ^ a b Brim, Orville Gilber (2009). Look at Me!: The Fame Motive from Childhood to Death. University of Michigan Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-0472050703. 
  4. ^ Kennicott, Philip (2008-07-15). "The New Yorker Cover and the Challenge of Satire". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  5. ^ a b Merryman, John Henry, Albert Edward Elsen, and Stephen K. Urice (2007). Law, Ethics, And the Visual Arts. Kluwer Law International. p. 548. ISBN 978-9041125187. 
  6. ^ Jacobs, Frank (2007-02-07). "72 - The World As Seen From New York's 9th Avenue". big think. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  7. ^ "View of the World from 9th Avenue, 1976". SaulSteinbergFoundation.org. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  8. ^ a b Leymarie, Jean. "Saul Steinberg". Almanac. University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  9. ^ New York 39. New York. 2006. p. 96. 
  10. ^ a b Fulford, Robert (2005-06-21). "A 'parody of talent': A new book posits that Saul Steinberg did for art what James Joyce did for literature". RobertFulford.com. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  11. ^ Rall, Ted (2003-06-03). "A View of the World from Pennsylvania Avenue". Universal Press Syndicate/Il Post. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  12. ^ New Yorker Cover – 10/6/2008 (October 6, 2008). "New Yorker Cover – 10/6/2008 at The New Yorker Store". Newyorkerstore.com. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  13. ^ "How China sees the world: And how the world should see China". Economist.com. 2009-03-21. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  14. ^ a b Busis, Hillary (2012-10-02). "View of the World from 9th Avenue... as seen on Apple Maps". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  15. ^ "Apple Maps Wreak Havoc with New Yorker Cover". Mad Magazine. 2012-10-01. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  16. ^ Mack, Eric (2012-10-02). "The New Yorker's view from 9th Avenue -- via Apple Maps". CNET. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  17. ^ "ASME's Top 40 Magazine Covers of the Last 40 Years". American Society of Magazine Editors. 2005-10-17. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 

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