Organized by Mohammad Salemy
Tuesday August 5, 2014, 6PM EST
Streaming online and live @
Whitebox Art Center
329 Broome Street New York, NY 10002
An uncanny timeliness opened an unexpected connection between global contemporary art and geopolitics this month when, following the escalation of Israel’s military operations in Gaza, a planned exhibition of works from and about the Arab world opened at New York’s New Museum. Not only is the exhibition the biggest of its kind but, in addition to works from Palestinian artists throughout the show, the fifth floor of the museum houses a separately curated presentation of art and archival materials about and from Palestine.
It’s merely a truism to respond to this happenstance with the well-known quote by Walter Benjamin, that “there is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.” However, investigating the subtleties of Benjamin’s link between civilization and barbarism seems especially pertinent to these coincidental exposures of the politics of the Arab world in that the operating logics of both Israel’s Operation Protective Edge and New Museum’s Here and Elsewhere each in their own way contend with the form and content of the anticolonial resistance that has historically provided the Raison d’être for so much of Arab art, specifically contemporary art from Palestine.
In this conversation organized by Mohammad Salemy, Ariella Azoulay, Joseph Audeh, Judith Rodenbeck, Alex Shams, and Myriam Vanneschi will discuss what connections can be made between seemingly unrelated categories of military and museum as well as war and art.
The Middle East continues to be a primary site for the blood-drenched transformations of our planetary geopolitical system and is now also taking a leading role in the emergence of a global contemporary art. The discussion will consider whether the coincidental exposure of geopolitical violence in the Middle East and art from the region to audiences in the global north can help us understand the future of Palestine and the place of production and distribution of contemporary art in the future.
Henry Kaye – “The Privilege of Philosophy: On Whitebox Art Center’s Panel on Palestinian Art”, Art F City