With Lebanon Then and Now: Photography from 2006 to 2020, the Middle East Institute’s Art Gallery presents selections from two previous shows, curated by Chantale Fahmi. Originally a physical exhibition, this show has been reimagined as a virtual experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic, letting visitors browse its high-res photographs and film at their leisure. Produced in cooperation with the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris and the Beirut Museum of Art, USA, and organized with the Beirut Center of Photography and the Association for the Promotion and Exhibition of the Arts in Lebanon, it brings together images from the exhibitions Lebanon: Between Reality and Fiction (2019) and Revolt (2019-2020).
Between Reality and Fiction, curated by Hanna Boghanim, featured works by 19 photographers, artists, and filmmakers about the Lebanese Civil War. The war remains a focus of much contention, with many of its unresolved conflicts continuing to cause political unrest in the country. Especially piercing are portraits in Dalia Khamissy’s series “The Missing of Lebanon” (2010-in progress), highlighting women posing with pictures of their missing family members (to this day, an estimated 17,000 people remain unaccounted for from the war). The series illuminates the plight of these families who have been demanding accountability and answers. Maria Kassab’s surreal digital collage series The Shipwreck (2018) is themed around the sea, stitching pictures of the Mediterranean into empty living spaces. These pieces explore the pain of separation and loss due to war.
Revolt, curated by Chantale Fahmi, was organized by the BCP and APEAL in response to the protests that erupted in Lebanon in October 2019. The exhibition was mounted in downtown Beirut around “The Egg,” a movie theater whose construction was halted by the civil war. Since then, it has been unoccupied, a ghost and a skeleton, until it was reclaimed by the protesters, serving as their headquarters and becoming a symbol of their movement. The billboard-sized images from 11 photographers captured the intensity of the protests. Documentary photographers played a crucial role in the demonstrations, uniting people of all sects against political corruption. One of the most striking is Jack Seikaly’s “Freedom, October 28, 2019,” taken on the 12th day of the uprising, depicting a young woman skateboarding down a highway past a student studying. Jana Khoury’s “Witness, October 18, 2019” shows jubilant young people standing on top of The Egg.
By juxtaposing these two exhibitions, Fahmi grants insight into Lebanon’s current crisis, linking it to the fallout of the civil war. But not everything is morbid. Amongst the destruction and despair are moments of beauty that are easy to overlook. Omar Sfeir’s “The Lovers in Times of Revolution,” positioned on the introductory panel, is a token of defiance and unyielding youthful spirit. An anonymous couple embraces and kisses through the Lebanese flag, which covers their entire heads, in a nod to René Magritte’s “The Lovers” (1928). The show brings two generations of artists into a dialogue, revealing parallels across decades. The wide array of subjects in Lebanon Then and Now, from the role of women in the revolution to the importance of memory and history, express a common desire: the pursuit of a better tomorrow, or ultimately, an escape.
The Tweet comparing an ominous screen capture from the Tucker Carlson Show to one of Holzer’s Truisms is being sold as an NFT to benefit crucial organizations in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.
Rapper Maykel “Osorbo” Pérez was sentenced to nine years.
Shows at the Hudson Valley’s Hessel Museum of Art feature artists Dara Birnbaum and Martine Syms, as well as new scholarship on Black melancholia as an artistic and critical practice.
On the day of the Supreme Court’s decision to undo 50 years of constitutional rights to abortion, artist Elana Mann’s “protest rattles” feel especially poignant and urgent.
This week, Title IX celebrates 50 years, the trouble with pronouns, a writer’s hilarious response to plagiarism allegations, and much more.
PLEASE SEND TO REAL LIFE: Ray Johnson Photographs reveals the “career in photography” that occupied the artist in the last three years of his life.
Since antiquity, women’s eyebrows have been sites of intense scrutiny, constantly shifting between trend cycles.
A landmark show of 30 artists at Jeffrey Deitch gallery in New York keeps the category of Asian figuration open-ended.
Contemporary Black-Indigenous women artists Rodslen Brown, Joelle Joyner, Moira Pernambuco, Paige Pettibon, Monica Rickert-Bolter, and Storme Webber are featured in this digital exhibition.
Hall makes no attempt to entice the viewer to begin looking and to look again, letting her methodical craft compel viewers to reflect upon their experience.
In Benglis’s latest works, the forces of gravity that defined her seminal poured latex and polyurethane pieces are traded for luminous bronzes.
A new project by Columbia’s Queer Students of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation explores queer histories that have been suppressed by gentrification and urban development.