Faculty Projects #5, Gautam Kansara, “Wearing Through News”, February 15, 2014 – April 15, 2015


“Wearing Through News” is an ongoing project that focuses on “important” headlines on the front-page of the New York Times. The importance of a story or headline is usually delineated by the font size. In this project I have focused on headlines that are of the utmost importance according to the editors, in that the font is large and all the letters are capitalized. Such large, capital, bold-faced headlines used to be, in years past, quite a rare occurrence. However, in recent history, as the pace of world events has accelaerated, so has the appearance of these headlines. In 2014 there were more than 10, while in 2001 there were only 2.

The headlines are transferred to T-shirts through the analog photographic process of Cyanotype, which is in fact one of the earliest photographic processes, first discovered in 1842. The process involves a liquid emulsion, which means one can paint it onto almost any surface, like cloth, paper, wood, metal, etc. After applying the emulsion and letting it dry, a contact print process is used to transfer the image to the clothing. The article is then exposed to direct sunlight for about 20-30 minutes. Cyanotype is a UV sensitive emulsion, so the sun is all one needs. After exposing, the article is then simply washed with water in order to develop the image.

In “Wearing Through News” the T-shirts have also been toned with various types and strengths of tea, a common toning agent, to deepen and separate the color. In addition these particular images have gone through an extreme bleaching process that has weakened the fabric. The cotton and the polyester have begun to separate, which means that through wearing and washing the images of the headlines will deteriorate and flake off over time, a reference to the temporary nature of any news story as it rises and falls within the confines of the 48-hour news cycle.

Gautam Kansara (b. 1979, London) is an artist and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. Gautam’s video and photographic work is part of prestigious private collections including The Burger Collection, Hong Kong, The Shreya and Swapan Seth Collection, New Delhi, and the Permanent Collection of the Center for Book Arts, New York City. Since 2002 his work has been featured internationally in numerous exhibitions and screenings, including Alongside the Poison Dartz, Secret Project Robot: Institute for the Living Arts, Brooklyn, NY (2014); Faculty, National Academy Museum, New York City (2013); This is familiar, but I can’t remember now…, Dumbo Arts Festival, Brooklyn, NY (2012); Multiple, Unique, Limited: Selections from the Permanent Collection at The Center for Book Arts in New York City (2011); A Place of Their Own at BMB Gallery in Bombay (2010); No Soul For Sale at X-Initiative in New York City (2009), us between us at Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT (2008); Rencontres Internationales at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid (2008); We Will Always Be There For You at Kunsthaus Dresden (2008); TV Dinners at LMAK Projects, New York City (2007); AIM 26 at The Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York City (2006). Gautam has been an artist-in-residence at Smack Mellon, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space, and the Center for Book Arts, all in New York City. Gautam is faculty at Manhattan College’s Visual and Performing Arts Department, and a adjunct professor at New York University’s Department of Art and Art Professions.

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