Between the lies: new exhibit explores how form affects function in media

By Jordan Riefe

An exhibit at the Getty in Los Angeles showcases the work of artists reworking and re-contextualizing imagery of newsmakers to uncover a deeper truth

When the first copies of Marshall McLuhan’s landmark treatise, The Medium is the Massage, rolled off the presses in 1967, the typo in the last word was pointed out to the author, who thought it so thematically appropriate he asked them to keep it. The title made his point that the form media takes is as important as the content, and changed the way we see ourselves in relation to a message-driven environment of our own creation.

“All media are extensions of some human faculty – psychic or physical,” he wrote. “The wheel is an extension of the foot. The book is an extension of the eye. Clothing, an extension of the skin, electric circuitry, an extension of the central nervous system.” Where the daily news fits into that equation is the topic of a clever new exhibit at the Getty in Los Angeles, Breaking News: Turning the Lens on Mass Media.

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