South likes: Here and Elsewhere at New Museum, New York

New Museum_Here and Elsewhere_2014_07_NYC_Benoit Pailley

Here and Elsewhere, installation shot, 2014, New Museum. Courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

South likes: Here and Elsewhere at New Museum, New York
Here and Elsewhere
New Museum, New York, USA
16 July – 28 September, 2014

Text by Michelangelo Corsaro

Taking its title from a 1976 film by Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin, and Anne-Marie Miéville, the exhibition Here and Elsewhere, curated by Massimiliano Gioni and Natalie Bell, is a survey on Arab contemporary art, which focuses on the tension between the avant-garde notion of the autonomy of art—regardless of social or geographical boundaries—and its origins in a specific cultural or political context. In this sense, Here and elsewhere is an attempt to look over the supposed universalism of Internationale-style, to inquire the work of artists whose networks extends beyond the specificity of their origins. Works by Etel Adnan, Yto Barrada, Kader Attia, Rokni Haerizadeh, Bouchra Khalili, just to name a few among more than forty-five participating artists, contribute to shape this complex scenario, made of diverse styles and dramatic differences, avoiding any stigmatisation of Arab art into a fixed perspective. As many of the artists exhibited at the New Museum exhibit for the first time in New York, this show contributes in defining the positioning of Arab art within the international art system, after a decade of increasing institutional interest and bolstering market capacity. Its importance however might be sought beyond the interests of art professionals, insofar as the exhibition manages to promote what is commonly called “dialogue” and more often is possibly nothing else than knowledge. Especially in historical circumstances characterised by cultural conflict and steady anti-muslim sentiments, knowledge might well be a much-needed medicine for many Westerners who ignore that “Arab” doesn’t necessarily mean “Islam” and that Arab culture is itself is richer and more differentiated than it is normally acknowledged by media.
A small note to current events taking place in Middle East is worth mentioning, as it had a direct impact on the exhibition at the New Museum. The Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar was to be part of a panel discussion on the night of the opening of Here and Elsewhere. However, in the climate of mindless violence that dominates the Israel-Palestine region, the Israel Border Police denied Jarrar exit to travel to New York for no apparent reason, preventing from attending the opening and from realising a second project he had planned in New York. A more extensive account of this episode can be found here, hoping that this story will help to understand the consequences of accepting the domination of one man over another.

http://www.newmuseum.org/exhibitions/view/here-and-elsewhere

Nem Museum_Camille Henrot_05_2014_NYC_Benoit Pailley

Here and Elsewhere, installation shot, 2014, New Museum. Courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

New Museum_Here and Elsewhere_2014_07_NYC_Benoit Pailley

Here and Elsewhere, installation shot, 2014, New Museum. Courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

New Museum_Here and Elsewhere_2014_07_NYC_Benoit Pailley

Here and Elsewhere, installation shot, 2014, New Museum. Courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

New Museum_Here and Elsewhere_2014_07_NYC_Benoit Pailley

Here and Elsewhere, installation shot, 2014, New Museum. Courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

New Museum_Here and Elsewhere_2014_07_NYC_Benoit Pailley

Here and Elsewhere, installation shot, 2014, New Museum. Courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

New Museum_Here and Elsewhere_2014_07_NYC_Benoit Pailley

Here and Elsewhere, installation shot, 2014, New Museum. Courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

New Museum_Here and Elsewhere_2014_07_NYC_Benoit Pailley

Here and Elsewhere, installation shot, 2014, New Museum. Courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

New Museum_Here and Elsewhere_2014_07_NYC_Benoit Pailley

Here and Elsewhere, installation shot, 2014, New Museum. Courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

New Museum_Here and Elsewhere_2014_07_NYC_Benoit Pailley

Here and Elsewhere, installation shot, 2014, New Museum. Courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

New Museum_Here and Elsewhere_2014_07_NYC_Benoit Pailley

Here and Elsewhere, installation shot, 2014, New Museum. Courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

New Museum_Here and Elsewhere_2014_07_NYC_Benoit Pailley

Here and Elsewhere, installation shot, 2014, New Museum. Courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

New Museum_Here and Elsewhere_2014_07_NYC_Benoit Pailley

Here and Elsewhere, installation shot, 2014, New Museum. Courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

 

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