Weeks into the George Floyd protests, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has alienated his constituents, the police, and even his own staff. For New York’s June 22-July 5, 2020 issue cover story, writer David Freedlander speaks with current and former aides about how the Mayor got to this point, the dissonance between how he sees himself and how his city sees him, and more.
For the cover image, New York wheatpasted portraits of Bill de Blasio around New York City. “The idea was to see what New Yorkers thought about the mayor and to give them a chance to weigh in,” says photography director Jody Quon. Photographer Marcus Russell Price then documented the responses to the posters over the course of four days. “The process of watching people discover and interact with the posters almost became addictive,” says Price of the project, noting that the posters seemed to function the way a community bulletin board might. “People walking past would stop and stare. Some might take photos, others would pull out a pen to contribute. New Yorkers have a voice and they’re using everything at their disposal to have it heard. Voting, marching, phone calling, e-mailing, and in this case, graffiti writing.”
It’s not the magazine’s first time staging public art projects. For its 50th anniversary, New York commissioned original covers from 50 New York artists, wheatpasting some of the covers around the city, and distributing others as posters.