Carin Goldberg, Madonna’s book cover and debut album designer, dies at 69

Carin Goldberg, an artist whose painstaking work included the cover of Madonna’s first album and thousands of books, including Kurt Vonnegut’s best-selling book series and a new edition of Ulysses James Joyce, who corresponded to the late 1920s ideal, died Jan. 19 at his home in Stanfordville, NY He was 69 years old.

The cause was a glioblastoma brain tumor, said her husband, James Biber.

A self-described “proud, awkward, intelligent New York Jew,” Ms. Goldberg entered the male-dominated, risk-averse creative world in 1975. a vision and pictures,” he once said, to “tell someone. a story without telling a story.” Although she designed hundreds of album covers, Ms. Goldberg was most celebrated for her book covers, which John Updike called “bold and festive” and numbered in the thousands.

With the latest pride, Ms. Goldberg drew on historical images and letters to create “a series of images that have been working in the brutal arena of retail while engaging – topics – cultural conversations that are within creative work,” Ellen. Lupton, a distinguished curator at the Cooper Hewitt museum, wrote Graphis design industry magazine.

For the 1986 reprint of “Ulysses,” the publisher commissioned Ms. Goldberg to honor the book’s 1949 hardcover, which featured a giant letter U. She designed a cover that matched the colors and Futura Bold version of the German designer’s 1928 drawing. Paul Renner. Composer Tibor Kalman criticized her for “the history of theft,” to which Ms. Goldberg responded, “We’re all thieves.”

“I’m very skeptical when artists or designers say they never ‘exploit,'” he told Step magazine. “It’s impossible. It’s about what the subject and the context and the intention are.”

Other memorable book covers by Ms. Goldberg include “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” by Oliver Sacks, “Sonnets to Orpheus” by Rainer Maria Rilke, and recent novels by Vonnegut , with letter-t0-edge Vs. exploding, like the author’s writing and personality, from the covers.

Ned Drew and Paul Sternberger, professors of architecture at Rutgers University, reviewed Mrs. Goldberg’s work on Vonnegut in their history of book design, writing that the covers “played out modern styles of architectural decoration, which demonstrate his correct understanding of text structure and comprehension. design and operation. ”

Vonnegut is certainly welcome. Later when they met at a party, he said to Mrs. Goldberg, “Young lady, you’ve made me a lot of money.”

Carin Goldberg was born in Manhattan on June 12, 1953, and grew up in Glen Cove, NY, and Matawan, NJ. .

Intending to work in the arts, he studied painting at Cooper Union, a private art and science college in Manhattan. After graduating in 1975, Ms. Goldberg became a producer for CBS Television, then moved to Atlantic Records, followed by CBS Records.

He explained to CBS as a “mini atelier/art school” where designers are “blessed with an amazing library of new and old art and design books and have access to magazines like the old Gebrauchs-Grafik, Life and Fortune. We looked to Cassandre, Herbert Bayer, Italian Futurism, Russian Constructivism and De Stijl for inspiration.

In the early 1980s, he started his own design firm, working mainly on book covers. In 1982, Warner Bros. Records called to ask if he was interested in doing an album cover for a promising young artist.

“When I got the call, I widened my eyes,” he recalled to New York magazine. “At that time it was more common to have one name, because of Cher.”

New artist name: Madonna.

“I remember thinking, ‘God, it’s going to be one of those,'” Mrs. Goldberg said. “So I went into it with very low expectations. The thing is, no one knew who he was.”

Ms. Goldberg wrote the cover in black and white, with Madonna wearing bracelets up to her forehead and her hand resting strangely and seductively on her forehead.

“In your face, the cover was witty and clever,” Debbie Millman, the creator and host of the podcast, wrote as a reminder. But here’s the kicker: The cover conveyed a sentiment that was clearly Madonna’s long before the singer developed her courage.

“In my wildest dreams, would I have thought?” Ms. Goldberg told New York magazine. “I’m very happy that we did a complete picture for the cover. I think it helped – even incrementally. But it’s hard to know. I did my job, got out there, and life went on. And I’ll always be the art director who did Madonna’s first cover, which I don’t think is a bad thing. ”

Ms. Goldberg’s survivors include Bieber, her husband of 36 years, and their son, Julian Bieber.

In addition to album and book covers, Ms. Goldberg has also designed covers for The Atlantic, New York Times Magazine, New York Times Book Review and other publications. He was a distinguished professor of typography and design for 35 years at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Drew Hodges, one of his first students, recalled when he was studying.

“Hip, artistic, smart, funny, and full of art history,” he told Design Week. “Every project, he’d say ‘look at Cassandra,’ ‘look at Warhol,’ ‘look at Jim Dine,’ ‘look at Jasper Johns,’ ‘look at these characters,’ look here, look there.

“He was very strong,” Hodges said. “He was just expecting magic.”

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