May 24, 2024

Irwin Glusker, 98, Dies; Gave American Heritage Its Distinctive Look

Life was nearing its end as a weekly magazine, but it did not lack for serious subjects in Mr. Glusker’s time there, including one of the Vietnam War’s most notorious atrocities: “I handled the layout of the My Lai massacre,” he wrote in the 1986 memo.

“I handled Woodstock,” he continued, “and helped bury Teddy Kennedy’s presidential aspirations under a couple of spreads on Chappaquiddick.” There were also, he added, the Kent State shootings, the first moon landings and “eight billion words” by Norman Mailer on that subject, which he squeezed in around ads with odd shapes.

After the original iteration of Life ceased publication in 1972, Mr. Glusker opened a design business and produced books in collaboration with, among others, Nancy Sinatra, Charles Kuralt and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

He returned to magazine work in the 1980s as Gourmet’s art director. The job was a good fit, allowing Mr. Glusker, an inveterate foodie, to make himself a pest in the test kitchen and to act as a mentor to young people like the noted food photographer Romulo Yanes.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Glusker is survived by a son, Peter, and four grandchildren. His wife, Lilyan (Goldman) Glusker, whom he met when she was a copy editor at American Heritage, died on July 30.

Although the print publications Mr. Glusker worked on have vanished, his art lives on in physical form in at least two pieces outside the publishing realm.

One, a bronze sculpture, “The Rowers,” has stood outside the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park since 1968.

The other, a black-and-white poster-style calendar depicting the moon’s phases, is sold by the Museum of Modern Art Design Store, which commissioned it and calls it a “beloved classic.” The 2023 version is now in stock.

Alain Delaquérière contributed research.

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