In this age of alternative facts, we’re increasingly aware that the news can be manipulated like any other malleable material. FLAG Art Foundation
’s latest exhibition, “The Times,” drives that point home in presenting the work of more than 80 artists who incorporate physical (and ideological) aspects of the New York Times
. On view through August 11th, the show explores how the self-pronounced “paper of record” has shaped both the scope of world history and our own daily lives.
“We started planning this show two years ago with a shortlist of 12 to 15 artists who we knew had historically used newspapers in their practice,” says Jonathan Rider, associate director of FLAG. “But in the wake of the election, we decided to do it as soon as possible.” To be sure, the importance of—and contention around—news media has only grown since Trump moved into the Oval Office. The president took to Twitter in February to lambast his critical naysayers as the “enemy of the American people” and his administration has even gone so far as to bar major outlets (including the apparently “failing” New York Times) from a White House press briefing.
According to Rider, once his team started putting plans for the show in motion, they were shocked to uncover more and more artists using the newspaper in their practices. By the time the list of artists had expanded to 50, FLAG decided to announce an open call for submissions, which garnered over 400 responses that were pared down within a few weeks. “We got submissions from artists living in the middle of the country who have never really shown anywhere before, as well as from artists living in New York who are showing at top galleries,” he says. (Roughly half of the works included in the exhibition are a result of the open call.)