press release

The exhibition Here and Elsewhere presents the work of over 45 artists who share roots in the Arab world and a critical sensibility with regard to images and image-making. The title of the exhibition is borrowed from a 1976 film-essay by directors Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin, and Anne-Marie Miéville. Their film, Ici et ailleurs (Here and Elsewhere), was conceived as a pro-Palestinian documentary, but evolved into a complex reflection on the ethics of representation and the status of images as instruments of political consciousness. Taking inspiration from Godard, Gorin, and Miéville's film—which has had a strong impact on an entire generation of artists in various Arab countries—the exhibition pays particular attention to the position and role of the artist in the face of historical events.

An unconventional form of lyrical documentary and personal reportage emerges in works in which the artist is vested with the responsibility of revising dominant historical narratives. Other artists in the exhibition undertake experimental approaches to archival materials, rewriting personal and collective histories. For others, traditional mediums like painting, drawing, and sculpture record subtle and intimate shifts in perception, using images as tools for self-discovery and chronicles of current events.

A reflection on what is at stake in the act of representation characterizes many of the works in the exhibition, as artists reconsider the task of witnessing and documenting social and political changes. While a number of pieces initiate a reflection on images as sites of conflict or spaces of intimacy, others develop a critique of media representation and propaganda.

Here and Elsewhere does not propose a fixed definition of Arab art or a distinctive regional style. With the renegotiation of location and perspective evoked in the exhibition's title, the show calls attention to specific cities and art scenes while emphasizing the importance of dialogues that extend internationally. The exhibition illuminates similar insights and affinities as well as dramatic differences, revealing multiple social and aesthetic landscapes rather than a fictional sense of unity. Emerging from the works of this distinguished group of artists are less the contours of an imagined geography—to paraphrase the words of Edward Said—than new critical attitudes toward art and images that encourage us to look "elsewhere" in order to understand our "here."

Here and Elsewhere is organized by the New Museum's curatorial department, led by Massimiliano Gioni, Associate Director and Director of Exhibitions, with Natalie Bell, Curatorial Associate, Gary Carrion-Murayari, Kraus Family Curator, Helga Christoffersen, Assistant Curator, and Margot Norton, Assistant Curator.

Participating artists: Abounaddara, Etel Adnan, Rheims Alkadhi, Basma Alsharif, Ziad Antar, Marwa Arsanios, Kader Attia, Yto Barrada, Anna Boghiguian, Fouad Elkoury, Simone Fattal, Mekhitar Garabedian, GCC, Fakhri El Ghezal, Tanya Habjouqa, Rokni Haerizadeh, Rana Hamadeh, Shuruq Harb, Susan Hefuna, Wafa Hourani, Ali Jabri, Khaled Jarrar, Lamia Joreige, Hiwa K, Amal Kenawy, Mazen Kerbaj, Bouchra Khalili, Maha Maamoun, Hashem El Madani, Marwan, Ahmed Mater, Abdul Hay Mosallam, Selma and Sofiane Ouissi, Jamal Penjweny, Mohamed Larbi Rahali, Marwan Rechmaoui, Abdullah Al Saadi, Hrair Sarkissian, Hassan Sharif, Wael Shawky, Mounira Al Solh, Suha Traboulsi, Van Leo, Ala Younis (a curatorial project of archival materials and artworks by Adel Abidin, Mustapha Akrim, Yto Barrada, Neïl Beloufa, Mohssin Harraki, Mona Hatoum, Amina Menia, and Abdul Hay Mosallam), and Akram Zaatari