- What’s On
The Pera Museum’s latest exhibition, And Now The Good News, is ambitious – some 300 works by 164 artists spread over three floors of the museum, arranged in chronological order from top to bottom. Don’t be taken in by the well known journalistic trope that gives the show its name. Irony is all too apparent. The visitor has to accept the ease with which the media can manipulate newsworthiness, and the intensity of glossed-over reality. The narrative is intriguing, and the theme a remarkably effective way to capture social transformation.
The show starts with works taking a stand against the political propaganda of totalitarian regimes at the beginning of the 20th century. It continues with artistic reactions to the media fed by the rising culture of consumerism after the Second World War. It then extends to the media’s transformation in the digital age, where it is even easier to distort the truth. Artworks in various media and techniques range from Tears of the Lake – a series of anonymous adverts by Dieter Roth created for the magazine Luzerner Stadtanzeiger – to Christo & Jeanne Claude’s *Packaged Magazine: Look”, an installation wrapped with transparent plastic foil in a wooden frame, and Bedri Baykam’s mixed-media paintings on newspaper headlines. The selection is astonishing and brings together well-known names from modern and contemporary art, such as Aleksander Rodchenko, David Hockney, Georges Braque, Kazimir Malevich, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol and Barbara Kruger, as well as younger artists working in a range of disciplines.
The show is drawn from the private collection of ‘Press Art’, built up over the past 30 years by Annette and Peter Nobel, a Zurich-based lawyer and law professor working in the fields of media and communication. Peter Nobel explains in The Paris Review how the term ‘Press Art’ was coined in 1972 by the National-Zeitung of Basel. Every Saturday the newspaper would publish an artwork made specially for the paper, and subscribers could order a signed copy of the page. Other papers followed their example. The Nobels’ collection focuses above all on the dialogue between mass media and art and covers a wide geographical range. The curator is Christoph Doswald, a Swiss publicist, curator, university lecturer and author of books on contemporary photography and art in public spaces, including a second volume on the Nobels’ remarkable collection, published in 2020.
The 343-page Pera Museum catalogue, And Now the Good News: Works from the Nobel Collection, is available from Cornucopia.