Critics’ Picks

View of “Old News (Again),” 2015.

View of “Old News (Again),” 2015.


“Old News (Again)”

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1 Rue de l'Ancien Canal
May 16–October 2, 2015

The conventions and vicissitudes of media make headlines in curator Jacob Fabricius’s project Old News, a free, nonprofit newspaper issued periodically since 2004. For each edition, Fabricius invites an artist or group of artists to select news clippings to be recirculated. This exhibition presents a range of old alongside new editions of the paper. Walead Beshty’s undated contribution, renamed the Shanzhai Times, disrupts temporal distinctions, among other things, by mixing images of knockoff culture with apparently genuine news items chronicling instances in which the authority and authenticity of identities has begun to dissolve. Others take a different tack, as in Nevin Aladağ’s collection of front pages from September 11, 2001, covering the previous day’s news, their reportorial value quickly made obsolete by the events of that fateful morning. In another issue, the Soviet-era street-theatre practice of a “living newspaper” is adapted by Liz Magic Laser to re-create news photographs. As exercises in empathy, the latest images are then published alongside the original photos and layouts.

The availability of takeaway printed materials in an art gallery, by now banal, here manifests less as a poetics of dispersion and disappearance than as a sculptural reserve of information. Jakob Kolding’s oversize stand-up figures are interspersed throughout the newspaper stacks like cardboard cutouts promoting summer blockbusters. Among these are The Other Owl, 2015, looking supercilious and perhaps named to distinguish it from the owl of Minerva, and a pathetic Napoleonic hero with the mien of a sore loser. These characters call to mind and perhaps refute Hegel’s oft-abused maxims concerning the belated nature of philosophical knowledge and the end of history, respectively. Through each artist’s process of sorting and anointing what is worthy of renewed attention, Fabricius’s recycling project creates altogether different shapes of time.