Fair and Balanced? The ‘Roger Ailes Memorial Show’ Sets Artists Loose on the Founder of Fox News

A gaggle of artists give the late Fox News head a satirical sendoff.

Cindy Hinant's Celebrity Grid (It's How He Is) (2017). Courtesy of the artist and yours mine & ours.
Cindy Hinant's Celebrity Grid (It's How He Is) (2017). Courtesy of the artist and yours mine & ours.

Days after the death of onetime Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, whose recent departure as head of the network was precipitated by tornado of sexual-harassment allegations, an op-ed appeared in the New York Times titled “Roger Ailes’s Dream Was My Nightmare.” Written by Monica Lewinsky, the editorial outlines how the scandal-obsessed, tabloid-style news network had essentially been the offspring of her affair with Bill Clinton, which had agitated America’s right wing to such a froth that it spurred record ratings.

Recently, the proprietors of the Lower East Side gallery yours mine & ours distributed Lewinsky’s much-read article to a troupe of 16 artists, asking them to use it as a prompt to create artworks for a summer show in arch tribute to the Fox News paragon, “The Roger Ailes Memorial Show: Fair and Balanced.

The roster ranges from New York painters like the emerging Samuel Jablon and the veteran Rochelle Feinstein to 40-something Angeleno Amy Bessone, who contributes ceramics and paintings, to, in a nod to the artists’ forebears, a video by the late artist and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz.

Yours Mine & Ours gallery, featuring works by, left to right, Nicole Wittenberg, Allison Wade, Nash Glynn, and Rochelle Feinstein.

Yours Mine & Ours gallery, featuring works by, left to right, Nicole Wittenberg, Allison Wade, Nash Glynn, and Rochelle Feinstein.

Among the clearest reactions to Ailes’s legacy? Jablon’s small text painting, which simply spells out its title: Fury. By comparison, the other works address the media magnate’s legacy only obliquely, though many do focus on female subjectivity and gender issues in an implicit rebuke to the male-dominant culture of the news network. For example, Ria Brodell’s captivating gouache paintings portray “butch heroes,” showing historical women who lived outside of traditional gender roles and often paid a steep price for doing so; one painting shows Charles Hamilton, aka Mary Hamilton, with lashes on her back from being whipped for impersonating a man.

Additionally, Cindy Hinant’s works lay a grid and a sheet of clear Mylar over tabloid images of female celebrities, at once dissecting and casting a fog over them, giving Ivanka Trump a hazy cast and suggesting a grim look at how women are portrayed in the media.

But perhaps a more lyrical expression of defiance to the kind of reactionary mindset that defined Ailes’s tenure at Fox can be gleaned from David Wojnarowicz’s classic 1986–87 video A Fire in My Belly (Film in Progress). The piece is notorious for a few moments showing ants crawling over a crucifix—a scene that once caused it to be censored from a Smithsonian exhibition—but over its full 13 minutes it daringly broadcasts a range of abject imagery, such as amputee beggars and lips being sewn together.

In its final moments, A Fire in My Belly displays what serves as an emblem for a planet whose cataclysmic warming Fox dubs a fiction: a spinning globe that has burst into flames.

Below, see some images from “The Roger Ailes Memorial Show.”

Rochelle Feinstein's The Week in Hate (2017). Courtesy of the artist, On Stellar Rays, and yours mine & ours.

Rochelle Feinstein’s The Week in Hate (2017). Courtesy the artist, On Stellar Rays, and yours mine & ours.

Samuel Jablon, Fury (2017). Courtesy of the artist and yours mine & ours gallery.

Samuel Jablon, Fury (2017). Courtesy of the artist and yours mine & ours gallery.

Ria Brodell's Charles/Mary Hamilton (2010–2017). Courtesy of the artist, Gallery Kayafas, and yours mine & ours.

Ria Brodell, Charles/Mary Hamilton, 2010–2017. Courtesy the artist, Gallery Kayafas, and yours mine & ours.

Anahid Mishek, Jordan,, 2017. Sewn thread on tarp. Courtesy of the artist and yours mine & ours.

Anahid Mishek, Jordan, 2017. Sewn thread on tarp. Courtesy of the artist and yours mine & ours.

Taylor Davis's It was not an order with Untitled (D.h.) (2017). Courtesy of the artist, SEPTEMBER, and yours mine & ours.

Taylor Davis’s It was not an order with Untitled (D.h.), 2017. Courtesy the artist, SEPTEMBER, and yours mine & ours.

Allison Wade, The Critic (2017). Courtesy of the artist and Yours, Mine & Ours.

Allison Wade, The Critic, 2017. Courtesy the artist and yours, mine & Ours.

Nash Glynn, <i>Untitled (Self Portrait)</i>, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Yours Mine & Ours.

Nash Glynn, Untitled (Self Portrait), 2017. Courtesy the artist and yours mine & ours.

Tony Lewis's Untitled (2017). Courtesy of the artist and yours mine & ours.

Tony Lewis’s Untitled, 2017. Courtesy the artist and yours mine & ours.

Yours Mine & Ours gallery, featuring works by, left to right, Cindy Hinant, Anahid Mishek, Karen Schwartz, Hannah Rowan, and Amy Bessone.

Installation view. Courtesy yours mine & ours.

Ceramic works by Amy Bessone. Courtesy of the artist, Salon 94, and Yours, Mine & Ours.

Ceramic works by Amy Bessone. Courtesy the artist, Salon 94, and yours mine & ours.

“The Roger Ailes Memorial Show: Fair and Balanced,” is on view at your mine & ours, New York, July 6–August 4, 2017.


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share

Article topics