Museum as Hub: Due to Unforeseen Events... - New Museum of Contemporary Art
235 Bowery (Prince St.) - 212-219-1222
New York, NY 10002
Description: "Museum as Hub: Beirut Art Center: Due to unforeseen events…" is an exhibition by the Beirut Art Center that sets out to explore five incidents in which artworks produced in Beirut over the last thirty years were fundamentally altered in the process—and by the process—of being presented to the public. The cases under consideration here concern films, performances, sculptures, and installations by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Rabih Mroué, Tony Chakar, Saloua Raouda Choucair, and Ziad Abillama. For the Beirut Art Center's participation in the New Museum's Museum as Hub, five artists and one scholar have gathered clues, notes, documents, and descriptions to explain what happened to these works as they crossed a threshold from an artist's intentions to an audience's reception. In each case, something dramatic occurred, which unfixed the meaning of the piece, threatened its material integrity, and called into question the process by which a society and a state accords objects, actions, and interventions with the status of art. By revisiting these events, the exhibition not only reveals the complicated conditions under which art is made and shown in a place like Beirut, it also illustrates how even the most vexing moments of transformation—whether an artwork is altered by censorship, litigation, destruction, theft, or total social rejection—have the potential to open up new fields of inquiry and generate new work. To that end, "Due to unforeseen events…" includes photographs, videos, texts, a slideshow, and a mixed-media installation that were created specially for the exhibition to reflect on the curious afterlife of the original artworks. They consider what their subsequent alterations have to say about the semblance and substance of trust that exists between artists and the public, as well as between institutions and the communities they serve. In the Resource Center, Beirut Art Center will also present their Mediatheque, a digital archive that offers public access to works—including video, image, sound, and text—by a growing number of artists from Arab countries; Iran; Turkey; and Armenia. Over sixty artists are featured in the Mediatheque including Mounira Al Solh, Ayreen Anastas, Tarek Atoui, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Mona Hatoum, Emily Jacir, Hassan Khan, Rabih Mroue, Walid Raad, Wael Shawky, Rania Stephan, Rayyane Tabet, Jalal Toufic, Ala Younis, and Akram Zaatari, among others. The Mediatheque also includes select documentation of events that have taken place at Beirut Art Center since its opening. "Museum as Hub: Due to unforeseen events…" is organized by guest curators Sandra Dagher and Lamia Joreige for Beirut Art Center.