The New York Times has reported that illustrator and humorist Bruce McCall passed away today.
“Bruce McCall, whose satirical illustrations for National Lampoon and The New Yorker conjured up a plutocratic dream world of luxury zeppelin travel, indoor golf courses and cars like the Bulgemobile Airdreme, died on Friday in the Bronx. He was 87.
“His wife, Polly Bier McCall, said his death, at Calvary Hospital, was caused by Parkinson’s disease.
“Borrowing from the advertising style seen in magazines like Life, Look and Collier’s in the 1930s and ’40s, Mr. McCall depicted a luminous fantasyland filled with airplanes, cars and luxury liners of his own creation. It was a world populated by carefree millionaires who expected caviar to be served in the stations of the fictional Fifth Avenue Subway and carwashes to spray their limousines with champagne.”
His work really appealed to me because his artwork perfectly evoked the brash optimism of the mid-20th century, but subverted it in satirical, often surreal, ways. It was always meticulously rendered, but playful and very funny.
Here is his 2008 Ted Talk, called Serious Play, in which he describes his work as RetroFuturism.