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Inside the New York Times Op-Ed Page

By Carole Schor

The Literary Sala is proud to present a special event on January 28 featuring Jerelle Kraus, who was the art editor of the New York Times op-ed page for 13 years and who worked at the Times for over 30 years! She is the author of the outstanding and outspoken book All the Art That’s Fit to Print (And Some That Wasn’t)—Inside the New York Times Op-Ed Page.

San Miguel Literary Sala
Special Event
Jerelle Kraus, former art director for the New York Times op-ed page, author of
All the Art That’s Fit to Print
(And Some That Wasn’t)
Thu, Jan 28, 5pm
Hotel Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio 15
100 pesos (50 pesos for Literary Sala members)
Complimentary wine reception

San Miguel is home to many artists, editors, and people with a wide variety of political opinions, and so it is more than fitting that we welcome the woman who for 13 years oversaw the controversial art that appeared on the New York Times op-ed page. Jerelle Kraus has come to San Miguel to regale us with stories of how the page developed into a worldwide phenomenon, eagerly read and anticipated by readers who looked to the op-ed page to give them a broader perspective of the news than they might have received from the journalists on staff at the paper.

The New York Times op-ed page was introduced to the paper in 1970. It was the first page written by readers as opposed to staff journalists, and it presented commentary and perspectives different from those of the Times editors. The page was originally created by journalist John Oakes, who realized the need to present writers who disagreed with the Times editors. He felt that opposing opinions were critical to the concept of a free press and that art and illustration made for a better journalistic presentation. He hired Jerelle Kraus as art director, a move designed to create even more controversy and opposition.

Kraus’s book not only tells the story of the page but details the behind-the-scenes struggle she had as the person in charge of the illustrations, which were often provocative, blasphemous, and politically incorrect. In the book, Kraus, the longest running art director at the Times, with a record 13 years to her credit, showcases the drawings, sketches, and cartoons that complemented pieces on the op-ed page, pieces from writers as diverse as Spiro Agnew, Arthur Miller, Phillip Roth, and Arthur Schlesinger.

Not all the art that Kraus selected as art director made it into the paper, and her book contains some of these pieces never before seen or seen in their original form before being stripped and sanitized by the Times editors. The book contains more than 300 of the illustrations Kraus selected for the page, including many of the ones that were rejected for reasons of political and sexual incorrectness. Even the famous Andy Warhol would be censored by the Times, when his illustration of Ted Kennedy, drawn to run alongside an editorial depicting Kennedy as a nebulous figure, was turned down by management. Drawings that could be construed as sexual, like one that Milton Glaser drew for Valentine’s Day depicting intergalactic love, were dropped because the alien’s beak might have been mistaken for a part of the human anatomy, as was one cartoon of a thermometer supposedly “ejaculating.”

Jerelle Kraus’s life has been one of innovation, charisma, entertainment, and illustration. She most certainly will enlighten and entertain all of us at the Sala event on January 28 at 5pm at the Hotel Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15. Admission is 50 pesos for members and 100 pesos for non-members and includes a wine reception.

Writers’ Conference Tickets Available

Also at the Sala event on January 28, you can register for the Writers’ Conference and purchase tickets for Writers’ Conference events beginning at 4:30. You will be able to sign up for a Big Read book discussion group to discuss the book selected for this year’s Big Read, Lovely, Dark, Deep, by Joyce Carol Oates. We encourage you to become a member of the Literary Sala. Membership supports not only the literary life of San Miguel, including scholarships for teens and reading projects for children in the campo communities. It also offers many attractive benefits, including discounts at monthly readings as well as discounts and priority seating at the annual Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival (an event planned as much for avid readers as for writers). A membership desk will be available for information and registration at the January Sala.



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