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The New York Times Magazine’s new cover is actually a painting


The New York Times Magazine’s design director Gail Bichler has released the new cover of the magazine on Twitter.

The cover story considers “What a Fraternity Hazing Death Revealed About the Painful Search for an Asian-American Identity”, deconstructing the case of college freshman Michael Deng who died two months after joining a Asian-American fraternity house “looking for a sense of belonging and identity”.

In 2013, in a hazing ritual known by the Pi Delta Psi fraternity as “the Glass Ceiling”, student Michael Deng was tackled at full speed and knocked to the ground. Although fraternity members carried him to a nearby rental house, none of them called an ambulance “because, according to a statement given to detectives, someone had looked up how much it would cost and determined that the price would be too high.”

By the time Michael Deng was finally driven to hospital, he was in a coma, and he died the following morning from trauma to the head.

The complexity of the case is reflected in The New York Times Magazine’s cover, which shows a headshot of a man so blurred that he is rendered unrecognisable. In pared-back white text to the left of the image reads: “The Death Of Michael Deng”, while text beneath the image expands “A college freshman, a violent fraternity hazing ritual and the search for Asian-American identity. By Jay Caspian King”.

A second tweet by Gail Bichler revealed in a twist that the cover image was actually a painting by Italian sibling duo Miaz brothers, who are known for their blurred, out of focus portraits using spray paint.


The New York Times Magazine via Gail Bichler, Twitter