News / Arts & Entertainment

    Contemporary Arab Art at NYC’s New Museum

    Arab Art Featured at NYC’s New Museumi
    X
    August 22, 2014 2:10 AM
    The first museum-wide show of Arab art in New York City is spread out over five floors at the New Museum, and exhibits work by more than 45 contemporary artists. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the show.
    Carolyn Weaver

    The first museum-wide show of Arab art in New York City, spread out over five floors at the New Museum, exhibits works by more than 45 artists from 12 countries. Many are animated by a documentary impulse, seeking out new ways to represent realities, but with a “critical approach to image-making,” said associate curator Natalie Bell, who helped organize the show with New Museum artistic director Massimiliano Gioni.

    “We found that a lot of artists were thinking critically about whether images are capable of conveying a truth, whether images are transparent, and trying to create works that could convey these ideas," Bell said.

    "Here and Elsewhere," as the show is called, opens in the museum's lobby with a photographic mural satirically portraying an ultraluxe, virtually gold-plated hotel in the Arab world. It's by the GCC, a group of artists who take their name from the Gulf Cooperation Council.

    Many of the works on display point only indirectly at social and political realities, however. Photographs by Hrair Sarkissian of bland, empty city streets and squares in his native Syria, spaces where public executions were held, seem to ask the question: How did what happened here leave no trace?

    Questions of war, immigration and displacement appear throughout the show, as in Moroccan-born artist Bouchra Khalili’s huge videos of maps traced by immigrants and refugees. A film, Infiltrators, by Ramallah-based Khaled Jarrar, documents furtive attempts by Palestinians to bypass the wall that barricades Israel. Jarrar was scheduled to visit New York in July to take part in a panel discussion at the New Museum, but was denied permission by Israeli authorities to travel from the West Bank.

    In a video by Lebanese artist Mounira Al Solh, the camera pans over parts of a lamb, slaughtered for a feast, as the narrator considers whether trauma can ever be truly "registered" in the moment, or filmed without exploitation. The film is in part about the trauma of being a refugee, inspired by the million or more Syrian refugees now living in Beirut.

    “She’s speaking more poetically about the experience, both linking it to her experience fleeing Beirut for Damascus, during the Lebanese civil war, when she was younger, and also reflecting on her family at that very moment, and these get-togethers they’re having," Bell said.

    The videos of Iranian-born artist Rokni Haerizadeh, in contrast, are fable-like, with animal figures painted over the human protestors in news footage of political demonstrations.

    A sculpture like a tree made of confetti, by Dubai-based artist Hassan Sharif, is constructed of surplus manufactured goods: everything from copper wires to string to cut-up plastic shoes. Qalandia 2087, a tabletop city model by Hebron-born Wafa Hourani, is a utopian vision of a Palestinian refugee village.

    “While it looks very realistic, as a kind of architectural model, it’s also very simple.  And that’s something that interested us also, because it’s a way of reminding us that art can be made with very simple materials," Bell said.

    The work of Moroccan artist Mohamed Larbi Rahali is another example. Since 1984, he has drawn, painted and created tiny collages on the insides of matchboxes, a project he calls Omri (My Life).

    Most of the artists in the show have not previously exhibited in New York. Bell said many are indifferent to commercial art markets, or of no marketable interest to them. Many also reject the notion of themselves as “Arab” artists. 

    The huge size of the New Museum show underlines another point, she added: art from the Arab world today is so diverse that it resists all attempts to categorize it.  

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.