October 10–December 15, 2017
Counternarratives marks the first institutional exhibit of works by media artist Alexandra Bell, acclaimed for her radical re-edits of newspaper articles to reveal biases and assumptions about race and gender. Her supersized New York Times articles disrupt manifestations of bias in reporting on topics from police violence to athletic competition.
Confounding journalistic conventions of timeliness, Bell resists the forward propulsion of the news cycle by reconsidering events once they cease to be current. Her deliberative process gives agency to a desire to slow down and look back, to locate subjectivity in the “facts” of public record and question how particular narratives become embedded in history. Overall, Bell’s Counternarratives project urges us to think more deeply about the circulation and consumption of news and the patterns and politics of information.
Usually posted one work at a time around everyday locations in New York City, Bell’s Counternarratives prints appeared at Bennington for the first time as a series of four, installed on building exteriors around campus including Crossett Library and the Center for the Advancement for Public Action.
During the exhibition, Bell taught a class in which she guided students through her process of questioning and correcting newspaper representations of race and gender. Student posters reconsidering New York Times coverage of the Charlottesville white-nationalist rally appeared as a collective artwork on a campus construction fence.
The show was organized by Anne Thompson, Director and Curator of the Suzanne Lemberg Usdan Gallery.
About the artist
Alexandra Bell ((b. 1983, Chicago, IL) is a multidisciplinary artist who investigates the complexities of narrative, information consumption, and perception. Utilizing various media, she deconstructs language and imagery to explore the tension between marginal experiences and dominant histories. Through investigative research, she considers the ways media frameworks construct memory and inform discursive practices around race, politics, and culture.
Bell was included in the 2019 Whitney Biennial. She received the 2018 International Center of Photography Infinity Award; a 2018 Soros Equality fellowship; and a 2020 Pioneer Works residency. Bell holds a B.A. in interdisciplinary studies in the humanities from the University of Chicago and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.