The Nobel Collection continues 150 years of press and art at the Pera Museum

As one of Istanbul’s main cultural centers, the Pera Museum, with its historic building built by architect Achille Manoussos in 1893 in a distinguished area of ​​the city, has always managed to entertain Istanbulites with its unique exhibits. and original. In its recent exhibitions, the museum has focused on various topics, such as Byzantine heritage in popular culture and contemporary cultural values ​​in the current crisis environment. His latest show, “And Now The Good News,” brings another interesting topic under the scope: the relationship between the press and art.

Edward Ruscha, “News, Dues, Stews, Brews, Pews, Mews”, 1970, serigraphs. (Courtesy of Pera Museum)

The exhibition, which hosts Spring at the Museum of Pera, aims to focus on the dialogue between art and mass media, taking as its starting point the invention of the printing press at the end of the 18th century and the formation of periodical journalism in the 19th century. Addressing the most critical issues in science, culture and politics over the past 150 years, it reveals the significant changes that have taken place over the past 20 years and their impact on the art of the press.

Curated by Christoph Doswald, “And Now The Good News” includes works from Annette and Peter Nobel’s “Press Art” collection. Among the artists who take place in this collection are Alberto Giacometti, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Andy Warhol, Andreas Gursky, Jenny Holzer, Bedri Baykam, Barbara Kruger, Christo, David Hockney, Dennis Hopper, Elmgreen & Dragset, Fernand Leger, Georges Braque, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Joseph Beuys, Özlem Günyol & Mustafa Kunt, Le Corbusier, Malevitch, Man Ray and Mayakovski.

Allen Ruppersberg, “Notes for a future fresco (Agnes Martin)”, 2020, collage, 58.4 by 76.2 centimeters.  (Courtesy of Pera Museum)
Allen Ruppersberg, “Notes For a Future Mural (Agnes Martin)”, 2020, collage, 58.4 by 76.2 centimeters. (Courtesy of Pera Museum)

While examining the relationship between text and current affairs, on the one hand, the show also highlights important points that have impacted the press and art. Visitors to the exhibition can witness how the invention of photography shaped society and the impact of totalitarian systems on mass media. Or they can learn about turning points like the post-World War II peace movement, the relationship between media industries and consumer culture, and the critical media discourse that emerged in the arts as a result of globalization. The transformation of concepts such as gender, religion and ethnicity in art and media as well as the development of the social media society are other issues the exhibition will focus on.

“And Now The Good News” features approximately 300 works by 164 artists who have used a variety of media such as painting, photography, collage, drawing, installation and video. The curatorial framework of the exhibition is based on the articles “Violence of images, violence against images” by French sociologist Jean Baudrillard, “Plus de lumière! Reading Pictures” by art historian Dorothea Strauss, “Ten Theses on Artistic Freedom and Art Promotion” by Felix Uhlmann and Cristina Bognuda. The exhibition also presents a diary, which includes texts by Ahu Antmen, Süreyyya Evren, Esra Özdoğan, Ece Temelkuran, Evren Savcı and Erkan Saka.

Trevor Guthrie,
Trevor Guthrie, “Fox News (The War on Cheerleading)”, 2007, charcoal on paper, 110 by 100 centimeters. (Courtesy of Pera Museum)

Both Annette and Peter Nobel have pointed out that technical fascination and intellectual reach played a part in their decision to collect press art. “It’s amazing how many artists have temporarily, accidentally, or repeatedly used newspapers as a base for their works, even painted on newspapers or even designed them themselves. It is a conscious act and can be seen as a call to deal aesthetically with everyday phenomena. Art becomes a symbolic living world,” they added.

The curator of the exhibition, Doswald, also mentioned that newspapers and magazines are considered mass consumer goods, produced anew every day and thrown away again immediately after reading while the idea of ​​an art in front of being unique has prevailed since the Enlightenment. Noting that the photographic and chemical processes of printing and the method of simultaneously communicating different content in newspaper layouts, on the other hand, stimulate artistic techniques and strategies, he hinted that “And Now the Good News” is an illustration of this stimulation.

Superflex, 'I Copy Therefore I Am', 2011, offset print on paper (poster) on aluminum, 60 by 65 centimeters.  (Courtesy of Pera Museum)
Superflex, “I copy therefore I am,” 2011, offset print on paper (poster) on aluminum, 60 by 65 centimeters. (Courtesy of Pera Museum)

“Under the genre term ‘Press Art’ are gathered artistic products related to the printed word and the printed image in the broadest sense, which elevate the inexpensive everyday renewable consumer good to an expensive individual item: newsprint base; paintings whose model was provided by a press image; photographs showing a magazine cover; gouaches applied to newsprint; serigraphs from a star photograph of a people magazine. Paintings, collages, assemblages, drawings and prints from the Annette and Peter Nobel collection tell of a time when the relationship between the direct original and the media image still existed,” he added.

The exhibition “And now the good news” offers an artistic experience that both stimulates the memory and inspires those who try to understand the present. The show will be open to visitors on the third, fourth and fifth floors and in the Pera museum café until August 7.

The Pera museum can be visited from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free for everyone on Fridays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and for students on “young Wednesdays”.

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James C. Tibbs