Read All About It! Yes Men and Co. Change World!
THE DAILY PIC: At the Brooklyn Museum, artists imagine a new New York Times.
THE DAILY PIC (#1544): The show at the Brooklyn Museum called “Agitprop!” is full of powerful art that imagines it might change the world – or, more accurately, it’s art that takes world-changing as its subject and ideal.
What I especially like about the project in today’s Pic is that it actually pretends that the world has changed, and imagines what that might be like.
On Nov. 12, 2008, just after the election on Barack Obama, a big crowd of collaborators – “Steve Lambert, Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes Men, along with 30 writers, 50 advisors, around 1000 volunteer distributors, CODEPINK, May First/People Link, Evil Twin, Improv Everywhere and Not An Alternative” – wrote, designed, published and distributed more than 80,000 copies of a “Special Edition” of the New York Times that indulged in some serious wishful thinking about what the world might be like 18 months later. “Maximum Wage Law Passes” is the headline on a story that describes a nation where executives are only allowed to earn a few times more than their employees do. “All Public Universities to be Free,” reads another that’s a touch less far fetched. Even the ads are utopian: The military contractor KBR, responsible in real life for chunks of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, promises the American people that “If you make the law, we’ll make it work.”
The faux newspaper’s fantasies are delightful and utterly optimistic – so much so that it’s clear that dark pessimism is their subtext, even in light of a new president with a motto like Change We Can Believe In.
If Trump were to be elected in 2016, I wonder if any artists could summon up the courage to think forward 18 months from that moment.
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