Alexandra Bell

“‘I choose a story because there’s been some kind of violation to me,’ she said. ‘It’s imperative to show how a turn of phrase or a misplaced photo has real consequences for people at the margins who are still suffering under the weight of unfair and biased representation.’” – Alexandra Bell to Sandra Stevenson, The New York Times

Tuesday, October 10 to December 15
Various campus locations

Oct. 10, 7 p.m. Tishman Lecture Hall
(open to the public)

Popup class:
October 10 (lecture) + October 14,15 + October 28, 29
More info here

Installation Locations on Campus

Bennington College is delighted to present an exhibition and lecture by critically acclaimed media artist Alexandra Bell. Bell is known for her “Counternarratives” project of supersized New York Times articles edited to reveal biases and assumptions about race and gender. Usually posted one work at a time around everyday locations in New York City, her “Counternarratives” prints will appear at Bennington as a series of four installed on building exteriors around campus.

This event is the first display of Bell’s work by an academic institution and the first to present her radical re-edits as a series. This grouping showcases how the artist disrupts manifestations of bias in reporting on different topics, from police violence to athletic competition, and confounds 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.

“Counternarratives” is organized by Anne Thompson, Director and Curator of the Suzanne Lemberg Usdan Gallery at Bennington College.

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 holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities from the University of Chicago and an M.S. in Print Journalism from Columbia University. She lives and works in Brooklyn.

Popup Class:
Counternarratives: Disrupting Media Bias

Students in the pop-up course “Counternarratives: Disrupting Media Bias” created alternate versions of a New York Times article on white-supremacist rallies in Charlottesville. Each of the thirteen works displayed on the Commons construction fence consists of two posters: one shows a student’s critique, with comments, instructions and marginalia; the other is their re-edit, with swapped-out photographs and redacted and rewritten text. Seen as a group, their projects demonstrate an agency in talking back to the media and a range of responses to the “facts” of public record.
Participating students: Malach Campbell, Julianna Davis, Caleb Grant, Nare Harutyunyan, Ash Haywood, Mariana C. Irazu, Dabin Jeong, Flannery McDonnell, Michelle Montano, Sbobo Ndlangamandla, Zadie Ross, Kamaree Saldo, Eden Diamond Staten

Featured Image: Alexandra Bell, A Teenager With Promise, 2017