Don't be surprised to hear the announcement of a football game between Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea to be played on a triangular pitch sometime soon. No doubt the spectators will be able to vote-off players, or the clothes of players, to help fund this spectacle. It is the style these days for cosmopolitan London to have three-way battles rather than the traditional polar arrangement. On the streets the taxis and bicycles have been joined by the rickshaws, hungry to muscle in on everybody's turf and get slowly and self-consciously in everyone's way. The already crowded spaces outside tube stations have become the killing fields for the war raging between three bland, small-minded newspapers. Jolly, minimum-waged vendors proffer almost identical free tabloids at commuters and the dead and dying pages lie in drifts in gutters and the corners of the tubes. The front page shows a picture of Kate Middleton and the caption joyfully declares that the paparazzi ignored requests for privacy on Kate's 25th birthday. Quality reportage, 'Keep Britain Tidy', trees, the Earth and whatnot suffer another pointless blow.
Struggling against the tide Eleanor Brown has produced The Newpaper. I asked her some very grown-up questions about it.
AL: What is The Newpaper?
EB: It's a newspaper about newspapers. The content reveals an artist's eye view of newspapers alongside articles about their artwork. I wanted to make a paper that mirrored a newspaper in style and in content but also dissected what a newspaper is.
Eva Weinmayr has designed the cover, a list of words taken from newsstand headlines and reordered to create new headlines. There is a section for news and world news, a comments page written by Khuram Aziz about the death of the printed paper, an arts section featuring art, films and books and there are business and advertising pages at the back. Newspapers are funny things, they try to cram in a little bit of everything for everyone, it makes sense to have a unifier, like finance, business or art to pull it all together.
It includes artwork by: Fiona Banner, Gordon Cheung, Mirtha Dermisache, Graham Dolphin, Jacob, Fabricius, Angus Fairhurst, Nooshin Farhid, Rainer Ganahl, Alex Hamilton, Louise Hopkins, Melanie Jackson, Adrian Lee, Jan Mancuska, Mark McGowan, Hugh Mendes, Carol Morley, Serkan Özkaya, Michalis Pichler, Elizabeth Price, Kim Rugg, David Shrigley, Vibeke Tandberg, Kat Topaz, Gillian Wearing and Eva Weinmayr. There are articles by Khuram Aziz, Eleanor Brown, Jo Brinton, Craig Burnett, Brian Butler, Paul Eachus, Rainer Ganahl, Althea Green, Ali MacGilp, Rebecca Page, Michele Robecchi, Andrew Stevens and Miria Swain.
AL: Why is it so big?
EB: The Newpaper is a broadsheet newspaper, possibly the largest in London if not the world. The broadsheet size enabled me to reproduce some of the art works in actual size. I have reproduced an excerpt from Michalis Pichler's War Diary, created from the New York Times, and broadsheet pieces from Kim Rugg and Alex Hamilton. It ended up being even bigger than the regular broadsheet because of a late night miscommunication with the printer, but I think that is a good thing, it is 'old school' size.
AL: How is it being distributed?
EB: I launched the paper from a newsstand outside a bar on Whitechapel Road in East London. That newsstand is now going to go on tour of bookshops, galleries and art events. It starts at Nog Gallery (www.noggallery.com) in Brick lane on Saturday 24 March for one month. You will also be able to get a copy from art bookshops or from The Newpaper website (www.thenewpaper.co.uk).
AL: When is the next one?
EB: It's more of a triennial than a daily paper. The art work in The Newpaper really reflects themes in the news over the last few years; the war in Iraq, Bush and America, the growth of the Internet. It would be interesting to do a similar issue in a few years time to see how news, the world and artist's interpretations of it, have changed. I will be bringing out other newspapers under the 'Art After Parties' publishing machine about other subjects in the meantime.
AL: How much does it cost?
EB: It costs 50p - it's a bargain, it's not going to break the bank. Buy it, look after, one day it might be worth a pound.
text: Adrian Lee & Eleanor Brown, published in Artvehicle, London, image: "God Bless America",Vibeke Tandberg, 2004
place order at www.thenewpaper.co.uk, London