Appreciation: April 2015 Archives

Art Director Tom Bentkowski Remembers New York Magazine in the 70s

Art Director Tom Bentkowski Remembers New York Magazine in the 70s

Editor's Note: The recent SPD event, For the Love of ...New York Magazine, featured nine former and current design directors and art directors of the magazine. Missing was Tom Bentkowski, who worked as an associate art director in the 1970s under design director Milton Glaser and art director Walter Bernard. For eight months, from June 1977-February 1978, Tom was the New York art director. He was in charge during a period when the magazine was sold, and there were a number of staff changes. Eventually J.C. Suares was hired as design director, and Tom left New York to pursue a very distinguished career at Time Inc, working as the longtime, multi-award winning art director of Life magazine. He continues to design and consult on a myriad of publication projects.

Tom sent us this highly personal and very rich history of his experiences at New York magazine. It's accompanied by a series of covers designed during his time as art director.

(Above): New York, November 14, 1977. Illustration: Ed Sorel.

By now, people might take for granted that the concept and content of New York magazine have always existed, But it was, in its day, a wonderfully fresh and innovative idea. It's longevity is a testament to its intelligence and creativity. The magazine, in its history, not only became the indispensable guide to the difficulties and delights of living in New York, it made an enormous contribution to the world of design and art direction. The ripples and reverberations are felt everywhere.

My own connection with the magazine was, in fact, quite a long one. I happily and gratefully had the most basic, entry-level position during some of the magazine's most exciting times, and I was the art director (for a very short time) through some of the magazine's most turbulent days.

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