He Proved The Power Of The Rule Of (Folding In) Thirds

When I saw a notice about MAD Magazine artist Al Jaffee’s death at 102 yesterday, it was tucked in the corner of a website so I didn’t think there would be a lot of notice. But this morning there were a plethora of stories.

He has been feted for his work on the magazine’s fold-in back cover which turned a large picture into the wry answer the picture caption.  For me, that was an inadvertent bit of visual art education to readers of the magazine. Seeing how ultimate image was derived from the larger piece taught people to look closer at what might be happening at the edges of pictures. I can’t be the only person who tried to figure out the answer in my mind’s eye before folding the page.

While it may not have been high art, those covers could have been a great entrée for introductory level visual arts courses since so many classic paintings had meaningful images inserted in the periphery. And of course, the final fold in image wasn’t the only visual joke. The whole cover was peppered with satire and foolishness as a reward to the patient viewer.

You can find many examples of his fold-ins on different websites  DC Comics interviewed him awhile back where he discussed how he managed to engineer the covers.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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