Drawn from the museum’s collection, this exhibition features work by contemporary artists who exploit printed and photographic media in ways that intentionally reveal the confusing line between art and information, fact and fiction. Many of the works purposely or playfully leverage the appropriation and manipulation of media to challenge perceptions of truth. Others use the anonymity of printed words to question “reliable” sources or to expose the role of mass media in perpetuating cultural and personal bias. By rejecting or modifying traditional fine print techniques, these works also challenge notions of high art and its historically authoritative stance.
Among the highlights of this exhibition are several recent acquisitions: Carl Pope Jr.’s The Bad Air Smelled of Roses, a monumental installation of letterpress posters, explores the ubiquitous presence and function of blackness in America; Lebanese artist Walid Raad’s Better Be Watching the Clouds tests the boundaries between fact and fiction by constructing mysterious intelligence documents related to the Lebanese Civil War (1975–91); and Mexican American artist Enrique Chagoya’s Les Aventures des Cannibales Modernistes (The Adventures of the Modernist Cannibals) alters and combines imagery from pop culture and Mayan and European chronicles in order to question how history and culture are framed and who does the framing.