New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has rolled out a coronavirus-inspired poster to symbolize the state’s battle against the pandemic, but the eccentric artwork – designed by the gov himself – soon became a source of mockery online.
The governor showed off the new poster during a press briefing on Monday, a busy image modeled after 19th century political cartoons, peppered with references to the virus and centered on a mountain symbolizing the state’s “111 Days of Hell.” Emblazoned across the top is a quote from none other than Cuomo himself, exclaiming “Wake Up America! Forget the Politics, Get Smart!”
“I think the general shape is familiar to you, we went up the mountain, we curved the mountain, we came down the other side, and these are little telltale signs that to me represent what was going on,” Cuomo explained while unveiling the artwork. “From Day 1 to Day 111, it’s roughly scaled and then little visuals of what was going on.”
High res image here. pic.twitter.com/4EitwxlKCj
— Rich Azzopardi (@RichAzzopardi) July 13, 2020
Beyond the more obvious references to ‘flattening the curve,’ economic shutdowns and social distancing, however, the poster contains a number of more cryptic and bizarre symbols as well, such as the “Fed Clouds of Confusion” – represented by clouds labeled after the White House and CDC – below which the “Winds of Fear” appear to be emitting from a demon-like creature. The new painting also goes out of its way to take a shot at the commander in chief, featuring US President Donald Trump alone on the moon alongside the text “It’s Just The Flu,” a detail apparently much beloved by the president’s detractors.
Why are there always sea creatures and evil face clouds blowing things? I hope there are entire classes dedicated to studying the bad graphic design of Cuomo posters in the future. https://t.co/HQcRMeDUvU
— Nicole Serratore (@MildlyBitter) July 13, 2020
New York’s pandemic poster so epically trolls Trump. I would’ve depicted him in a bunker or on a golf course but I like the idea of him being alone on the moon too. Thank you @NYGovCuomopic.twitter.com/mSgSk23LPy
— Matthew Sajban (@Thenewmatthew) July 13, 2020
Of course, the art critics of Twitter could not ignore “Boyfriend Cliff,” in which a man sitting in a muscle car – presumably Cuomo – watches as a youth hangs from a mountainside, seemingly a reference to Cuomo’s previous public musings about his daughter’s significant other, in which he advised other fathers to never admit they dislike “the boyfriend.”
the “Boyfriend Cliff” is when you date one of Cuomo’s daughters and he doesn’t like it so he draws you dying on a public poster pic.twitter.com/Ubq8m17veZ
— Katie Sicking (@KatieSicking) July 13, 2020
Who among us hasn’t been on the Boyfriend Cliff, that thing when you tell your gf that everything is great but she reminds you that 30,000 people have died on your watch pic.twitter.com/1NjvD0UBAc
— Andy Campbell (@AndyBCampbell) July 13, 2020
While the dig at Trump went over well with a number of spectators, even some supporters of Cuomo admitted the poster was a bit of a mess, one deeming it “a graphic designer’s worst nightmare.” Other critics were much more forceful, with many noting the artwork failed to symbolize the governor’s order to have coronavirus patients sent to nursing homes, putting vulnerable and elderly residents at risk. Though the state government has downplayed the effect of the controversial policy, detractors insist it contributed to the more than 6,000 nursing home fatalities across New York throughout the pandemic.
Hey @NYGovCuomo can you point out on the poster where it shows sending COVID+ patients into nursing homes and telling people to go have dinner in Chinatown?
— ΔS(r-δ)+0.5ΓS²σ²+θ=rCapital (@URPaul) July 13, 2020
Is there a place near Boyfriend Cliff where he shoved infected patients into nursing homes?
— Paul Erdös 🟧 (@Paul20760281) July 13, 2020
somehow he forgot “order nursing homes to receive COVID patients” on the upslope
— Alan (@akgerber) July 13, 2020
The Covid-19-themed poster was not Cuomo’s first foray into the visual arts. The governor has commissioned a number of other posters previously, including one in January depicting his administration as an old wooden ship navigating “The Sea of Division,” as well as an octopus monster simply labelled “Intolerance.” In June, he also gave an oddball presser featuring a huge 3D mountain to represent the battle against the virus, a motif that apparently inspired Monday’s poster.