Vahap Avşar’s “NONEISAFE”
              Merve Ünsal
              In the context of the current Turkish political climate, there is a tongue-in-cheek criticality to the work of Vahap Avşar. Just across the street from the New Museum, in the swanky Charles Bank Gallery, the multifaceted work of this Turkish artist troubles the viewer—just enough for a double take. His work is charged with politics, in particular the local politics of New York. But expression is not easy. The mixture of aesthetics—found imagery, painting, installation, and video—exposes the artist’s struggle with different media to represent Avşar’s immediate concerns ranging from the militarization of Turkey to delineations of public space. The first striking note of the show is the abundance of red X’s crossing out seemingly innocuous images, be it censorship or the artist’s personal ire. As it turns out, Ipdal (2010) is a series in which Avşar employs these odd postcards rescued from a printer’s collection found in Istanbul. From over 20,000 postcards produced between the late 1960s and 1990s, Avşar chose to enlarge and exhibit those that were marked by the word ipdal, Turkish for “cancelled.” On his website, the artist explains that this particular form of censorship was executed by the military government in the 1980s in an effort …

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