Magazine article Artforum International

Aleksandra Mir: Mary Boone Gallery/Printed Matter

Magazine article Artforum International

Aleksandra Mir: Mary Boone Gallery/Printed Matter

Article excerpt

In her essay "No time like the present," literary critic Deborah Esch quotes another critic, Werner Hamacher, discussing a kind of thought trial: "Many years ago ... Max Horkheimer recommended a little experiment during a television interview. He suggested reading newspapers a few weeks or months after their publication.... The reader of these old papers will notice that the imperatives, attractions and threats heralded in them reveal themselves as such only to the degree that they no longer directly affect him." In making Newsroom 1986-2000, 2007, Aleksandra Mir makes good on Horkheimer's hypothesis, and with it turned Mary Boone Gallery into a studio-cum-press agency for six weeks.

Newsroom's setup was simple, if extraordinarily laborious to produce: Mir and her assistants ransacked the New York Public Library, spending months copying ten thousand New York Daily News and New York Post covers from the fifteen-year period of the title, an interval that roughly coincides with that of the artist's residence in the city. Then, they set about reproducing more than two hundred of the most banal, deplorable, or just plain memorable front pages, churning out, as Mir put it in her press release, "new art and old news" daily. Thus, those making multiple visits to the show would have found a near-constantly changing suite of large Sharpie-drawn reproductions with repeating protagonists (celebrities, anonymous urban Everymen), sympathetic groupings of content (riffs on food poisoning, murderous parents, miracles, art theft), or typographical quirks (most frequently ampersands, hyperbolic numbers, exclamation points, and dollar signs).

While Mir's overall project made ersatz history painting out of the gossip-obsessed, disaster-splattered tabloids--inevitably conjuring Andy Warhol's paintings of newspaper covers--it also made clear that this city's history was, in retrospect, decidedly more farcical than tragic. Indeed, pre-9/11 New York returns as a prelapsarian folly interrupted only by the most occasional catastrophe. As Mir contends, it looks "like a quaint town full of petty crooks, with this accident or that occasional murder resulting in the loss of a single life. A rape in Central Park and a love triangle on Long Island were the two longest running news stories of New York in the fifteen years leading up to the end of the millennium. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.