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Israeli Artist Aviva Michaelov Spurs New Yorker Magazine to Pulitzer Prize

Aviva Michaelov

Aviva Michaelov (official pic)

Aviva Michaelov, an Israeli artist and The New Yorker Magazine’s digital design manager, was the initiator of an illustrated article that recently won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Illustrated Reporting and Commentary. The text of the article, and the images, titled “Diary of a Rikers Library Employee” was written by Medar de la Cruz about the infamous Rikers Island prison in New York City.

The Pulitzer was awarded to Medar de la Cruz, contributor, The New Yorker, for his “visually-driven” story set inside Rikers Island jail using bold black-and-white images that humanize the prisoners and staff through their hunger for books.

The author needed to recreate the images of the prison through drawings because no photographs are allowed there.

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“Rikers is an entire island that has different detention centers with thousands of detainees of all kinds, some for serious crimes and some for those who don’t have the money to pay bail,” Aviva Michaelov told Israel’s Calcalist. “This prison is constantly in the news because there are serious incidents of violence there, both by the guards and among the detainees. Because it is impossible to send a photographer there, the diary of De La Cruz’s experiences is very intriguing. Following the article, his life changed and he is working on a book.”

“It was challenging,” added Michaelov. “I try to promote as many visual articles as possible.” Another article that she initiated and was nominated for the award is by Angie Wang, about an artist who is dealing with the transition to artificial intelligence and the tension between the robotic and the human. “It’s very philosophical, deep and touching. More poetic.”

Aviva Michaelov grew up in Tel Aviv and graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York. She is design director of The New Yorker magazine. Through 2016, she was the art director of the Opinion pages at the New York Times, leading the design of the Op-Ed page and Sunday Review section.

Her work at The New York Times has been recognized by the Society of Newspaper Design

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