Aleksandra Mir

Newsroom, Mary Boone Gallery

By Joshua Mack
Time Out, #629, New York, October 2007

Newsroom 1986-2000
15 September - 27 October 2007
Mary Boone Gallery, New York

Newsroom, Aleksandra Mir’s delightful new show, transforms the usually hushed Mary Boone Gallery into a bustling, music-filled studio. Here, the artist and a group of assistants diligently churn out large black-and-white drawings based on Mir’s archive of more than 10,000 ‘Daily News’ and ‘New York Post’ covers.

The drawings reduce these tabloid front pages into schematic images whose uneven and outsize lettering creates a visual rhythm as snappy as the headlines they quote recent pieces have screamed IVANA BETTER DEAL and WE’RE SLICK AND TIRED, for example. Like the archive, the drawings are organized into thematic series, and Mir changes what’s on view at least once a week to make way for new productions. Past presentations have focused on bad cops, Donald Trump’s marital feuds and the weather, staples of the city’s obsessions and ongoing soap operas. Mir’s interest in organizing and recasting information superficially recalls the current surfeit of art that deconstructs and critiques the media. But in representing the papers in her loopy style, she suggests that news isn’t just local; it’s personal. Indeed, any New Yorker used to glancing at headlines or watching local broadcasts should feel a proprietary familiarity with Mir’s subjects. What the artist is really plumbing then - and often has - is the interface between shared personal experience and group identification.

But this isn’t just art for New Yorkers. Mir’s style is disarming enough to engage most viewers, and, as she explores the participatory foundation of our civic identity, she’s also presenting art as an inclusive experience by making it in public.