September 5 – November 8, 2008
Opening: September 5, 6-8pm
41 Essex Street
New York City
T: 212 619-3356
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12- 6pm
Friends of William Blake, Patrick Cockburn, Kathy Kelly, Trevor Paglen, Martha Rosler, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Jalal Toufic
Last April in Liverpool Martha Rosler invited me to attend a book launch and a lecture by Patrick Cockburn, an Irish journalist widely considered to be among the harshest critics of the war in Iraq. From this experience, the idea emerged to organize an exhibition and several lectures on the occupation of Iraq to take place in New York this Fall.
The questions involved in mounting a political art exhibition are extremely complex. In the past I’ve been skeptical of such direct forms of political expression, primarily due to the instrumentalizing effect they have on artistic production. And yet I have been extremely disconcerted by the near total lack of involvement or discussion of this subject by art institutions here in the only country capable of ending the occupation of Iraq.
Having spoken at length with a group of artists about this radical separation between the political reality of this place and its cultural reality, we decided to present OUT NOW! – a project which is less of a curated exhibition than an attempt to explore possibilities for a sympathetic cultural backdrop for urgent action and discussion toward ending this war.
New York, July 2008
Lecture program at The Cooper Union:
October 16, 7PM – Kathy Kelly (at Wollman Auditorium)
October 22, 7PM – Patrick Cockburn (at The Great Hall)
About the Participants:
Friends of William Blake is a loosely-knit collective of New York artists, writers and activists who in the past collaborated on a 64-page counter-recruitment book entitled The New Yorkers’ Guide to Military Recruitment in the Five Boroughs, and distributed 7,500 copies for free in the metro area. In 2004 the group producedThe People’s Guide to the Republican National Convention – a map of police stations, hospitals, transportation hubs and RNC-specific locations, from the hotels to the offices of military-industrial companies.
Having been a Middle East correspondent since 1979, Patrick Cockburn is widely considered to be one of the most experienced commentators on the Iraq war. He has won both the James Cameron Prize (2006) and the Martha Gelhorn Prize (2005) for his on-the-ground , and is the author of four books on Iraq: Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein, Saddam Hussein: An American Obsession, The Occupation: War and Resistance in Ira, and Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq as well as a memoir, The Broken Boy and a collection of essays on the Soviet Union, Getting Russia Wrong: The End of Kremlinology. Cockburn is currently the Iraq war correspondent for The Independent of London.
Kathy Kelly is a peace activist and pacifist who was one of the founding members of Voices in the Wilderness, a group dedicated to campaigning to end the occupation of Iraq. Since disbanded, Voices for Creative Nonviolence is a new organization that has formed in its place with Kelly as its co-coordinator. Kelly was born in Chicago as attended Loyola University at Chicago and received a Masters in Religious Education from the Chicago Theological Seminary. She has taught for over thirty years at Chicago schools, is a three time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, is active within the Catholic worker movement and has refused payment of all federal income tax for 25 years since becoming a pacifist.
Trevor Paglen is an artist, writer, and experimental geographer working out of the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley. Paglen’s visual work has been exhibited at Transmediale.08 Festival, Berlin; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Kunstraum Muenchen, Munich; and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams; among other venues. Paglen’s first book, Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA’s Rendition Flights (co-authored with AC Thompson; Melville House, 2006) was the first book to systematically describe the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program. His second book, I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me (Melville House, 2007) an examination of the visual culture of “black” military programs, was published in November 2007.
Martha Rosler works in video, photo-text, installation, sculpture, and performance, and writes on aspects of culture. Rosler’s work is centered on everyday life and the public sphere, often with an eye to women’s experience. Recurrent concerns are the media and war as well as architecture and the built environment, from housing and homelessness to systems of transport. Her work has been seen in the Venice Biennale of 2003; the Liverpool Biennial and the Taipei Biennial (both 2004); documenta 12 and SkultpturProjekte Münster (2007); as well as many major international survey shows, including several Whitney biennials. She has had numerous solo exhibitions. A retrospective of her work, Positions in the Life World (1998-2000), was shown in five European cities and at the New Museum and the International Center of Photography concurrently. Rosler has published fifteen books of photography, art, and writing, and books of her photographs includePassionate Signals (Cantz, 2005), and In the Place of the Public: Airport Series (Cantz, 1997). Rosler has been awarded the Spectrum International Prize in Photography for 2005, the Oskar-Kokoschka Prize in 2006, and Anonymous Was a Woman award in 2007.
Natascha Sadr Haghighian works in the fields of video, performance, computer and sound. Her work is primarily concerned with the socio-political implications of constructed vision from a central perspective and the strategies and returning circulations of abstract events taking place within the structure of industrial society. Instead of a CV, Natascha Sadr Haghighian recently started bioswop.net, an internet platform for CV exchange where artists and other cultural practitioners can borrow and lend CVs for various purposes. The aim is to have more and more people exchanging their CVs for representational purposes. For more information go to: www.bioswop.net
Since the early 1990s, Rirkrit Tiravanija has explored a new aesthetic paradigm of interactivity. He has cooked and served food to his audiences, set up a recording studio in a museum, reconstructed his apartment inside a gallery for visitors’ use, corresponded via the Internet while on an American road trip with Thai students, and provided opportunities for numerous other everyday activities to occur within art spaces. Tiravanija is a catalyst; he creates situations in which visitors are invited to participate or perform. In turn, their shared experiences activate the artwork, giving it meaning and altering its form. He has exhibited widely, including solo shows at Kunsthalle Basel, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Portikus, Frankfurt; and Secession, Vienna. For the 50th International Venice Biennale (2003), he co-curated Utopia Station, which has since traveled to several venues. Since 1998, Tiravanija has also been working on The Land, a largescale collaborative and transdisciplinary project near Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Jalal Toufic is a thinker, writer, and artist. He is the author of Distracted (1991; 2nd ed., 2003), (Vampires): An Uneasy Essay on the Undead in Film (1993; 2nd ed., 2003), Over-Sensitivity (1996), Forthcoming (2000),Undying Love, or Love Dies (2002), Two or Three Things I’m Dying to Tell You (2005), ëÂshûrâë: This Blood Spilled in My Veins (2005), and Undeserving Lebanon (2007). His videos and mixed-media works have been presented in such venues as Artists Space, New York; ICA, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Witte de With, Rotterdam; Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona; Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel; and the 16th International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA) in a “Focus Jalal Toufic”. He has taught at the University of California at Berkeley, California Institute of the Arts, USC, and the Rijksakademie, and he is currently a Professor at Kadir Has University in Istanbul.
OUT NOW! was organized by Anton Vidokle.
Anton Vidokle is an artist based in New York and Berlin.