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George Lois' Favorite Street: Madison Avenue

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George Lois

Legendary art director, designer and advertising leader George Lois (“advertising communicator” is how this multifaceted talent describes himself) is mad for his favorite Manhattan byway, Madison Avenue. For who knows Mad Ave. better than the man who made household names out of Tommy Hilfiger, ESPN, Xerox and MTV, and created logos for Nickelodeon, Jiffy Lube and Lean Cuisine—to name just a few. The author of The Art of Advertising, Iconic America and George Lois on His Creation of the Big Idea, Lois was recently lauded by the Museum of Modern Art with a yearlong exhibit. Take a walk through the George Lois exhibition yourself via the coffee-table book George Lois: The Esquire Covers @ MoMA.

By Jason Oliver Nixon

Photo by Luke Lois

Madison Square Park
“A brisk walk up Madison Avenue is a New York art lover’s safari,” says Lois. “Start at historic Madison Square Park (former home of Madison Square Garden) at 23rd Street and sit at the feet of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ Farragut Monument.”
Morgan Library & Museum: Bookshelves
“You must see the Morgan Library & Museum at 36th Street, a magnificent Italianate brownstone recently renovated by architect Renzo Piano and loaded with Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Rembrandt, Gutenberg bibles and Mahler scores.”
Morgan Library & Museum: Red Room
The Morgan Library & Museum is at 225 Madison Ave.
Morgan Library & Museum: Atrium

Esquire Cover
Lois is known for his famous and often controversial Esquire covers (1962–1972). Check out the complete collection, plus his world-famous ads and imagery, at georgelois.com.
Macklowe Gallery Facade
“Hop on the Madison Avenue bus to 60th Street, where you will find the Macklowe Gallery. There you can light up your life with 5,500 feet of spectacular Louis Comfort Tiffany lamps and art glass.” There are also plenty of art nouveau antiques.
Macklowe Gallery

Gagosian Gallery
Don’t miss the Gagosian Gallery, which Lois calls, “the maverick go-go gallery” that “knocks art lovers’ eyeballs out with modern masterworks and contemporary shock-of-the-new art shows.” 980 Madison Ave.
Gagosian Gallery: Modern Masterworks
The Gagosian Gallery.
Gagosian Gallery

Gagosian Gallery: Contemporary Pieces
The Gagosian Gallery, 945 Madison Ave.
Whitney Museum of Art
“In the area of 75th Street, there is a wealth of must-sees, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, a startling monolithic structure designed by the Bauhaus master Marcel Breuer, where the permanent collection covers the total modern American art scene.”
Carlyle Galleries

The Carlyle hotel at 76th Street and Madison is as New York as you can get,” says Lois. “The hotel was also President Kennedy’s favorite. Marilyn Monroe was spotted sneaking in through the servant’s entrance more than once.” 35 E. 76th St.

Other galleries:
“Explore the Safani Gallery, where the courtly Alan Safani deals in the beauty and history of 7,000 years of man’s greatest achievements in art from Eastern Mediterranean cultures,” says Lois. And don’t forget the art deco-rich DeLorenzo Gallery

Eleven Madison Park: Food
Eleven Madison Park has the best prix fixe lunch in town. 11 Madison Ave.
Eleven Madison Park: Dining Room

Eleven Madison Park: Wine
Eleven Madison Park
Eleven Madison Park

George Lois, legendary art director, designer and advertising leader, loves the art and architecture of Madison Avenue. See additional images from the July 2010 story here.

Photos by Evan Sung

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