All the Art That's Fit to Print reveals the true story of the world's first Op-Ed page, a public platform that—in 1970—prefigured the Internet blogosphere. Not only did the New York Times's nonstaff bylines shatter tradition, but the pictures were revolutionary. Unlike anything ever seen in a newspaper, Op-Ed art became a globally influential idiom that reached beyond narrative for metaphor and changed illustration's very purpose and potential.
Jerelle Kraus, whose thirteen-year tenure as Op-Ed art director far exceeds that of any other art director or editor, unveils a riveting account of working at the Times. Her insider anecdotes include the reasons why artist Saul Steinberg hated the Times, why editor Howell Raines stopped the presses to kill a feature by Doonesbury's Garry Trudeau, and why reporter Syd Schanburgwhose story was told in the movie The Killing Fieldsstated that he would travel anywhere to see Kissinger hanged, as well as Kraus's tale of surviving two and a half hours alone with the dethroned peerless outlaw, Richard Nixon.
All the Art features a satiric portrayal of John McCain, a classic cartoon of Barack Obama by Jules Feiffer, and a drawing of Hillary Clinton and Obama by Barry Blitt. But when Frank Rich wrote a column discussing Hillary Clinton exclusively, the Times refused to allow Blitt to portray her. Nearly any notion is palatable in prose, yet editors perceive pictures as a far greater threat. Confucius underestimated the number of words an image is worth; the thousand-fold power of a picture is also its curse.
Op-Ed's subject is the world, and its illustrations are created by the world's finest graphic artists. The 142 artists whose work appears in this book hail from thirty nations and five continents, and their 324 pictures-gleaned from a total of 30,000-reflect artists' common drive to communicate their creative visions and to stir our vibrant cultural-political pot.
The enduring relevance of the New York Times op-ed illustrations are explicated with literary flair by Kraus, a former art director of the page, who contends that the groundbreaking pictures changed the very purpose and potential of illustrations... to stir the political and cultural pot. Episodic essays accompanied by illustrations re-create the battles between art directors and editors that have raged since the Times created the world s first op-ed page in 1970. The works of famous Times illustrators like Brad Holland and Roland Topor, are enriched by Kraus s presentation of the controversies associated with their publication or rejection. The book serves as a chronicle of late 20th-century history, replete with sardonic images of tyrants and visual commentaries on the fall of communism; the works of Eastern Europeans who fled totalitarian regimes are some of the most challenging and resonant. In this overflowing treasure chest of ideas, politics and cultural critiques, Kraus proves that art is dangerous and sometimes necessarily so. 306 illus.