Artist wants exhibit to questions the focus of the media
By Dominik Lobkowicz
Marcia Annenberg stands with “What Did You Learn In School Today?,” a piece which she says looks at the lasting effects things like Agent Orange and depleted uranium can have on both sides of a war.
(D. Lobkowicz photo)
A new exhibit that opened at the Maine Art Gallery on July 25 is a collection of pieces in several media that the artist hopes will call attention to topics such as the focus of news coverage, weapons of mass destruction, and civil liberties.
“News/Not News” is the creation of Marcia Annenberg, a New York-based artist who has summered in the Boothbay area for the last 20 years. The exhibit opening during the Wiscasset Art Walk and will be on display until Friday, Aug. 23.
As an artist, Annenberg said she began mostly as a painter, but realized the medium came with some limitations. “I realized somewhere along the way that you can’t say everything in a painting,” she said.
Annenberg said the intent of her art has changed since she began looking at news critically. In the 1990s, news was becoming entertainment that focused on movie stars and crime rather than what was happening around the world, she said.
“I think the American people deserve to know more than what’s happening in America,” Annenberg said.
Annenberg said she began to notice there were major events being largely ignored by the media, such as Osama bin Laden calling for a jihad against the United States in a London newspaper in 1998 or climate leaders that were arrested for civil disobedience by chaining themselves to the White House gates.
The Washington Post gave the most coverage to the arrests of the climate leaders, who were protesting the Keystone XL pipeline, and even their coverage only made it into the back pages of the paper, Annenberg said.
Her piece Early Wednesday Morning, a take on Edward Hopper’s painting Early Sunday Morning, displays laminated copies of The Washington Post article and the front pages of several other papers from the same time period lined up – some covered in curtains – like the storefronts of Hopper’s painting.
The limited reporting on the arrests gave little attention to the world-wide problem of climate change, Annenberg said. The media needs to pay more attention to those issues so the public will pay more attention to those issues, she said.
Likewise, what is covered in the media relates to how much profit can be made, which is why news should not be a for-profit business, Annenberg said. “It should be a public service for the people,” she said.
“I want the American people to get their news back,” Annenberg said. In the days of Walter Cronkite, people took the news hour seriously, she said. “It wasn’t fluff.”
Annenberg’s pieces in “News/Not News” speak to heavier topics such as sexuality in the news media, and the threat and effects of nuclear war, Agent Orange, and depleted uranium, but some of her lighter pieces will be on display, such as color studies of the Maine landscape.
Annenberg said she paints the landscapes whenever she comes to Maine. “Maine’s too beautiful to ignore,” she said.
The Maine Art Gallery is located at 15 Warren St. in Wiscasset and is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on Marcia Annenberg, visit http://mannenberg.com.