An avid reader of The New York Times, Ross Bleckner stumbled upon a quirky juxtaposition of luxury and real life in the newspaper some 20 years ago and started saving daily tear sheets for the irony they conveyed. Page 3 of section A of the Times has displayed a Tiffany & Co. advertisement for bejeweled baubles next to headlines and pictures reflecting global tragedies, conflicts, disasters, and rituals for as long as anyone can remember. The artist has compiled nearly 90 of the appropriated and un-manipulated montages, which reference a wide range of international problems and human concerns, in the newly published A3: Our Lives in The New York Times, a 1:1 scale monograph that provides an overview of an era of widening inequities.
A vulture hovers behind a starving child in Sudan as a sterling silver “Baby Elephant” circus figure, selling for $1,050 in 1993, seems to saunter into the haunting image from the nearby Tiffany ad. In another montage from 2007, a photo of a razed Brazilian forest oddly co-exists with a flower pendant with diamonds and a cultured South Sea pearl set in platinum for $49,000—along with a caption that paradoxically reads “Cut Flowers.” Meanwhile—on the lighter side—a 2008 photograph of Chinese Olympic hostesses practicing posture with books on their heads appears alongside an ad for a dainty, $2,800 diamond bow pendant with the caption humorously declaring “Girls Will Be Girls.” These, and the other collisions betweens the NYT’s international news stories and Tiffany’s poetic ads, reveal that Bleckner, a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations, has an eye for the uncanny and a heart of gold.
View more images from the A3: Our Lives in The New York Times below. Archival prints of these images are available for purchase from Artspace, while signed copies of the book, which was published by Edgewise Press, can be bought at a book signing at Artbook + R/Turpan in East Hampton, NY tonight.