An art critic's guide to airline safety cards

11/30/2011 | Paris Review Daily

The illustrations on airline in-flight safety cards are masterpieces of minimalist art, writes Avi Steinberg. One portrays a woman fleeing an aircraft with the tranquility of a pre-Raphaelite Madonna; another shows a faceless man blindly strapping on a life jacket, like a refugee from a René Magritte painting. "It is plain to us that this creepily inanimate son of man is, in struggling to preserve his life, in some sense already dead," Steinberg writes.

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