How is Palestine represented in contemporary art, and how do Palestinian artists deal with the notions of memory and the past? Larissa Sansour raises in her work many questions concerning ideas of sanctity, homeland, and memory, in a manner that helps turning them into an illusion. In an analytical review and an in-depth critical gaze, scholar Housni Alkhateeb Shehada presents a broad picture of the place, the dialogue, the memory, and the conflict the figures are experiencing in the work recently presented by Sansour, in the Danish Pavilion, at the 58th Venice Biennale.
The Venice Biennale
“There is no curatorial passivism, any more than there is a passivist war.” Michal B. Ron reviews Maura Reilly’s book Curatorial Activism: Towards an Ethics of Curating and adds a note about the heroless politeness of the recent Berlin Biennial.
Moving across New York and San Francisco, Paris and Munich, Accra and Lagos, artist and scholar Malik Gaines’s Black Performance on the Outskirts of the Left: A History of the Impossible offers a lively and affirmative account of stage, dress, film and television, and music performance. Saadi Nikro reviews Gaines’s recently published book, discussing its many intersections of race, theatricality, subjectivity, and sexuality.
In the midst of the general lack of commitment of the central exhibition of the Venice Biennale this year, Avi Lubin visits three significant and interesting projects that offer metaphoric sites and spaces for experimentation and cooperation.
In light of the recent criticism of documenta 14 and the Venice Biennial, Noah Simblist returns to the book/magazine issue “Curating Critique,” to comment on whether and where curating and criticality might meet today.
In the second part of his essay analysing Akram Zaatari’s 2013 work “Letter to a Refusing Pilot,” Noah Simblist addresses a previous work by the artist that involved a conversation with filmmaker Avi Mograbi. Simblist is reading this work through the prism of dialogical exchange, referencing Grant Kester’s definition of “dialogical art,” as well as Ella Shohat’s observations on the identity politics of Mizrachi or Arab Jews.
In the summer of 1982, during Israel’s incursion into Southern Lebanon, a story swirled around the port town of Saida that acquired mythological flourishes: One of the Israeli fighter jets that were sent to the nearby Palestinian refugee camp of Ain El-Helweh, aborted its mission to bomb a school building, its pilot dropping the bombs into the sea instead. In a text for Tohu Magazine, that will be published in 3 parts, Noah Simblist dives into Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari’s work, Letter to a Refusing Pilot, instigated by this true story.
Did this year’s posthumous attempts at exhibiting Marcel Broodthaers's work rise to the challenge? Would his future retrospective at MoMA? Michal B. Ron is tackling these questions and their inherent paradox.