Kellyanne Conway may think she’s the queen of spin but she has nothing on the art world. Way before she immortalized the phrase ‘alternative facts’, artists have been giving us fake news and post-reality for decades.  Emergent in the late 1910s and early 1920s, surrealism’s free association enabled artist to translate their unconscious minds onto canvas. Surrealist paintings, on the surface, appear contradictory, illusionary and beyond rational, often containing juxtaposing images. In surrealist works of art, disparate associations of objects make us question commonly held assumptions or beliefs about the world, society and the human psyche.

Take, for example, René Magritte’s iconic Treachery of Images (1928-29).

Rene Magritte Treachery of Images

At first sight you see a pipe. The words underneath read, “Ceci nest pas une pipe.” This is not a pipe. Fast forward 90 years and you hear Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s words, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” It would appear that Magritte has given us an alternative fact, or an arternative fact. But actually, unlike Spicer, Magritte’s not telling porkies. This is his explanation:

“The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture ‘This is a pipe’, I’d have been lying!”

Since Donald Trump’s election, we’ve been thinking about art’s place in the political arena and the impact art can and should have in society. The alternative facts debacle gave us an idea for an online exhibition, Arternative Facts. If this really takes off, we’ll look for a physical space for the exhibition.

Open Call for Submissions

We are looking for works of art, especially from emerging artists, to submit works for the Arternative Facts exhibition. The closing dates for submissions is February 17th, 2017.

We are interested in works that:

  • Portray an alternative view of current realities.
  • Portray alternative perspectives on the current political landscape.
  • Rethink, reimagine and challenge commonly held beliefs and assumptions.

Send up to three images of your work to For each artwork, include a one line artnernative fact describing that piece. Please also send your  bio and artist statement with your submission.

Unfortunately, due to the high volume of submissions we receive, we can only respond to those artists we would like to feature in the exhibition.

Thanks in advance for your submissions.

Neil Jacobs
Road Gallery Curator