George Lois: Esquire Covers
The First Black Santa (December 1963)
Art director George Lois spent a formative 10 years helping Esquire develop some of the most iconic, controversial covers in glossy history. Now, some of those images previously on display at the Museum of Modern Art, like this iconic image of Charles "Sonny" Liston, are available in bound form, George Lois: The Esquire Covers @ MoMA. A year after Liston became world heavyweight champion in 1962, Carl Fischer shot the professional boxer for a controversial Esquire cover as the symbol of Christmas, St. Nicholas. The magazine dubbed him "the last man on earth America wanted to see coming down its chimney." Time called the cover "one of the greatest social statements in the plastic arts since Picasso's Guernica."