Shirin Neshat Sets Fire to Stuff

Shirin Neshat’s new “Summer” film in her Seasons series, entitled “Before My Eyes” was posted on the New York Times website earlier this week. The intentions of the film are political, as is the nature of Neshat’s work. Neshat asks us to reflect on “[measuring] the rise and fall of our hopes in the Middle East and … the catastrophic earthquake in Japan.” The video shows a woman in a solitary landscape experiencing fire and disaster, and the reflection of the event in someone’s eye.

UPDATED: Ai Weiwei’s Zodiac Unveiled, Mayor Bloomberg Applauds Artist’s Courage

Today’s rain may have put a damper on the unveiling of Ai Weiwei’s “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” (2009) at the Pulitzer Fountain, located at Central Park South and Fifth Avenue, but what certainly cast a pall over the event was the artist’s own absence. After over a month since his arrest by the Chinese government, we still haven’t heard from the dissident artist. The opening of “Zodiac Heads” was met with widespread support for Ai’s plight and for his politically contentious work, both from Mayor Bloomberg and the city’s influential arts community.

Quote from Shirin Neshat at TEDWomen

In the West, culture is at risk of being a form of entertainment — exiled Iranian artist Shirin Neshat #TEDWomenless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Part of me thinks this has already happened. I asked An Xiao for a context for this quote at the TEDWomen conference and she provided the following:

Neshat spoke today about her experience as an artist exiled from Iran. She explained that art and culture are a form of resistance, and that she envied Western artists for not having to think about resistance in their work. The only challenge, though, is that art here in the West can quickly become entertainment instead.