I'm always touched by your presence, dear: Blondie album covers and the concept of presence

. European Review of Artistic Studies (June 2013)


Often, works of art are praised for their “presence”. What exactly this term means, however, is less frequently specified. In this article, presence is defined as a trait of an artwork to cause the vague and possibly subconscious feeling in a viewer that a depicted figure is a living being that is really there, although the viewer is aware that this is not actually the case. By means of an extensive literature review, this article provides criteria for the assessment of presence in any work of art. A methodology for applying these criteria is presented, which is put to the test by assessing the degree of presence in the cover art of the New Wave band Blondie's first six albums (1976-1982). The results of this analysis are then compared to two test samples: other New Wave album covers, and Heavy Metal covers.

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