You walk up the hill, past “My-Shot’s” house to City College, approaching the castle on the promontory like Belle in a Disney fairytale. Then into the cavernous hall itself, like some kind of cathedral, with the banners of ancient and honored universities draped from the rafters: Oxford, Cambridge, Uppsala. All casting shadows upon an artist drowning in soup. A boxer pierced by arrows. A soldier with children.
Then the crash of cymbals and all eyes turn to the far end of the hall where fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger and former Senator Bill Bradley enter on the brows of a matched pair of pachyderms, one named MTV and one named Maypo, as Rob Schwartz, dressed like a ringmaster, welcomes the crowd, as he descends from the heavens on a silver platform, like Rihanna at the Super Bowl. A choir of schoolchildren begin to sing an operatic version of “The Hurricane” as a 30-foot video screen broadcasts a rotation of George’s TV spots—Braniff, Maypo, MTV, Apple, Marlboro, Guinness, Ducati, Pierce-Arrow, Lydia Pinkham’s—and as 60-foot replicas of his most famous Esquire covers are unfurled along the walls of Shepard Hall.
Really? Well, maybe. Sort of. Some of it. Sure.
Because you could never tell with George Lois—the iconic art director who died in November at the age of 91 and who was remembered with his wife Rosemary at a memorial celebration on March 1 at City College of New York.