Architect Matteo Pericoli is Italian by birth, New Yorker by choice, and the cover “ill”ustrator for Beastie Boys album To The 5 Boroughs. For those living in New York, it probably comes as no surprise to find out here that Pericoli’s depiction of Manhattan’s skyscrapers was not originally contracted nor intended to be the cover art for the Beastie Boys long awaited release. In fact, the Matteo Pericoli’s work was originally published by Random House in October 2001 under the title “New York Unfurled.”
The original sketches of “New York Unfurled” totaled thirty-seven feet in length when completely unfurled, which explains why multiple folds were required for the To the 5 Boroughs booklet. In an article written by Elisabetta Povoledo, for the Italy Daily newspaper (March 21, 2002), it was stated that as many as twenty bridges and nearly sixteen-hundred buildings were drawn over the three and a half years which it took Pericoli to complete the project. Following the sales success of “New York Unfurled,” Pericoli began working on a new skyline piece drawn from inside of New York’s Central Park, “Manhattan Within.” With the seemingly endless flow of Beastie Boys bootlegs showing up on eBay, don’t be surprised if you see this Pericoli drawing pop up on an unlicensed European 12″.
Matteo Pericoli was born in Milan, where he graduated from the Polytechnic School of Architecture. He moved to New York in 1995, where he has worked as an architect, illustrator, author, journalist, and teacher. From 1997 to 2000 he worked at the architectural firm Richard Meier & Partners as the project architect for the Jubilee Church in Rome. His drawings have been published in various newspapers and magazines, both in the US and in Europe—including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Conde’ Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Vanity Fair, Il Corriere della Sera, and La Stampa, among others. He is a regular contributor of La Stampa, Gardenia, and of Bell’Italia where his monthly column Finestra sull’Italia appears. He has written for the Italian newspapers L’Unità and La Stampa.