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Art Students Create Stunning Post-Pandemic New Yorker Covers

The covers were illustrated by students at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Stickers reading "I got the shot"

As the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic draws near, many are wondering what the future has in store. As we start to imagine the Great After, we’re filled with nervous excitement and anxiety about what post-pandemic life will look like. And this trepidation ranges from the pedestrian to the existential. Will my attempts at small talk be awkward and off-putting? Will I be able to return to the office, and do I even want to? Is there even a normal to return to when so much has already been lost?

Artist and educator Tomer Hanuka gave his third-year illustration students at the School of Visual Arts in New York City an unusual assignment to explore what the post-pandemic world would look like. Each student had to design a cover for The New Yorker magazine, which is famous for its stunning, evocative, and often controversial cover art.

In response, the students delivered a breathtaking range of covers. Some tap into the cautious optimism of post-pandemic life, while others emphasize the lingering grief and trauma of the coronavirus. As different as the themes of the covers are, they are all uniquely stunning in their concept and execution.

The works not only showcase the talents of Hanuka’s class, but each one tells its own unique story. The fear and hope are palpable in each cover, and you may find yourself tearing up at several of the works. Many took to Twitter to praise the covers:

When we talk about the art and pop culture made during the pandemic, we often focus on the films and television series that attempted to capture the moment, with varying degrees of success. Many of us question whether there is even an audience or an appetite for pandemic-themed art.

But whether we want it or not, this kind of art is a necessary part of our cultural catharsis. It’s an acknowledgement that we have all gone through a global shared trauma. It’s especially critical as several politicians and talking heads have repeatedly tried to ignore, dismiss, or downplay the severity of this global mass death event. Our experiences with it vary from person to person, but it’s deeply important to recognize and remember what we’ve lived through. Because of course, so many aren’t here to do the same.

This is the stunning and transformative power of art, and this is what these students have accomplished. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

(via Twitter, image: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, son, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.