Register Tuesday | December 7 | 2021

Behind the Cover

How we came to put a mushroom cloud on the front of our magazine


Morbid yet jubilant, this issue’s cover image of an atomic cloud screams apocalypse. Brooklyn artist Rebecca Bird, who spent four weeks working tiny details into the magnificent water-colour explosion says, “My religious upbringing taught me to look forward to the end of time when good people would be saved; in retrospect I find the idea horribly simplistic.”

As blue smoke mushrooms against a clean white background, the most devastating of outcomes takes on an astonishing organic beauty. What has been destroyed? Without visual clues—no mountains in the background, no rubble, no sign of life lost—this isolated blast could signify the emotional eruption of an individual just as easily as city-wide devastation. And after the blast would come the blueprint: for rebuilding, for improving upon what was there, for making sure it didn’t have to come to this again.

Bird’s booming image harks back to the bold blueprint for Maisonneuve announced in our inaugural issue: “Energy is a combustible commodity, hard to control, but we’re going to instil a spirit of intellectual, artistic and emotional energy within these pages, whatever the mess.” Five years on, we bring you our Blueprint Issue: an exploration of fresh visions, projects and movements across the arts, architecture, science, politics and society. Bombs away!