On Art

2022

title. No Narrative to Debate: Artist Raheleh Filsoofi Knows Iran, Clay, and Migration

published. Observer

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title. Double Fair Report: The Armory Show and Art on Paper Pack a Punch in 2022

published. Observer

quote. "Overall, the Armory Show paradoxically delivered in what it lacked: intimate disruptions, sculptures, and textiles."

title. Aicon Gallery Presents Colorful Victor Ekpuk and Natvar Bhavsar’s Pigments in Parallel Exhibitions

published. Observer

quote. "Where Ekpuk communicates visceral love and violence, Bhavsar’s diffused light appears more forgiving but no less profound."

title. Review: Acclaimed Francophone Musical ‘Notre Dame de Paris’ Premieres in New York City

published. Observer

quote. "Yet for all its medieval resonances, Notre Dame de Paris is a show that speaks to today’s unsettling violence, incarnated in relentless victim-blaming and racism. Esmeralda combines everything that men of power hate; she’s an unapologetic lower-class, foreign-born woman who follows her heart. Of what should she repent?"

title. War and Trauma in Yemen: Asim Abdulaziz’s “1941”

published. The Markaz Review, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books

quote. "In focusing on the human scale, Abdulaziz tries to understand how war shapes and transforms — an event seen as a disorientation, numbness, and nudge."

title. Mamadou Sarr and Paulin Soumanou Vieyra’s Afrique sur Seine

published. The Brooklyn Rail

quote. "Maybe by insisting so much on this desire to abolish otherness, Afrique sur Seine unintentionally reveals insecurities and prejudices already present in the 1950s, hinting at what Frantz Fanon had already analyzed as “black skin, white masks” in his namesake book released in 1952."

title. Artists Lydia Ourahmane and Cristina Iglesias Both Have NYC Shows Grasping Human History and Our Environmental Culture

published. Observer

quote. "The camera alternates between licking the basking, blinding light of the desert, to stroking the more subdued and mysterious shadows of caves where silhouettes of ancestors, animals, and spirits project the spectral remanence of a lost world, the lost city of Sefar."

title. Licence to Chill: Why Is Lofi Girl Our Dream Study Partner?

published. Elephant Magazine

quote. "Beyond playfulness, Lofi Girl’s popularity hints at a craving for slowness and a desire for authenticity in an oversaturated digital culture that feeds on insecurities and consumerism."

title. Photographer Naima Green Is Documenting the Afro-Queer Present

published. Observer

quote. "In documenting an Afro-queer present around her, Green bears witness to conjugated lives."

title. The Pilgrimage of the Soul by Kathia St. Hilaire

published. Burnaway Magazine

quote. "The artist imagines a firmament, searching for the space where angels are said to populate and from which they attend to our lives."

title. Omar Offendum revives the memory of New York's Little Syria through music

published. The New Arab

quote. "Little Syria perpetuates the pleasing good immigrant story, and yes it’s a lovely attempt at mythologising an answer to the perennial 'where do you come from?' But do we need to be likeable to simply exist? And for whom?"

title. This Weekend Is All About Frieze New York and the Rebirth of the Art Fair

published. Observer

quote. "Back to art and the fair’s common thread which centers on the body as both speculation and projection, we’re drawn to its expanding realm—a froth, a mirage, a concern, a condition, a proposition, a liberation, organs, blood, flesh, sweat, and so much more."

title. Chinese Artist Sun Xun Turned His Hotel Quarantine into a Studio of Infinite Freedom

published. Observer

quote. "In this search for expansive movement, he perhaps indirectly emulates one of his protagonists, Xiaozhi, who travels to the land of Luocha described in his postponed solo show as 'a nation with no history, no memory' ruled by a ghost."

title. Film Review: “How to Kill a Cloud” Brings Rain to the UAE

published. The Markaz Review, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books

quote. "How to Kill a Cloud brings up questions that aren’t anodyne — from the role of scientists as proxy demiurges deployed by an authoritarian state and regional military power, to the uncertain ownership of clouds (national, global good?), and the looming threat of climate-related terrorism, which could unleash floods or droughts upon dedicated targets."

title. Emilija Škarnulytė’s Short Film ‘Aldona’ Is a Must-Stream for Eastern European Film Lovers

published. Observer

quote. "Her condition coincided with the Chernobyl power plant explosion and doctors think the two events are related. In Aldona’s contamination and struggle for autonomy, we project Lithuania’s past and affirmation towards independence."  

title. Three Gallery Shows in New York: Hend Samir, Lalla Essaydi, and Walid Raad

published. Observer

quote. "Raad reinstates a prismatic blurriness; like watercolor, his imaginary brushes bleed into shapes. Imperfect narration serves as a significant medium to incarnate history and to contribute to intergenerational memory."

title. Khadar Ayderus Ahmed’s The Gravedigger’s Wife

published. The Brooklyn Rail

quote."In this decrepit scenery, Guled and Nasra’s love channels an aesthetic act of resistance. The film’s play with color is pure aesthetic delight. Lighting shifts from viridian green in nighttime settings outside, to warm hues in the tender and humble one-room family home."

title. Room with a Viewpoint: Making a Space to Reflect on Art

published. Elephant Magazine

quote. "Experiencing art carries both intimate and collective forms, two dimensions that are crucially absent from Studiolo."

title. 'The sublime is an experience looking for context': Algerian artist Rachid Koraïchi's Le Chant de l’Ardent Désir

published. The New Arab

quote. "Through a visual lexicon bearing witness to human suffering and dignity, Rachid Koraïchi invents a new performative grammar to challenge the limits of representation and indifference."

title. Three Exhibitions in New York City of Seven Western African Artists

published. Observer

quote. "Adomako seems to linger on the poetic properties of faces which oscillate between a surface of immensity and as a defining enclosure. Geisha and Bull in the fields (2017) hints at the tension between duality and self-affirming identity, fusing and colliding worlds. Faces blend into each other and create an epistemic confusion."

title. Do We Really Need a Mona Lisa Immersive Experience?

published. Hyperallergic, picked up by Courrier International

quote. "The show’s trailer clearly introduces the artwork’s status, as an “art superstar,” contributing to the skewed view of equating “good art” with moneymaking. In doing so, it consolidates structural inequalities, rather than doing something to meaningfully level the playing field."

title. Three Songs for Benazir: A heartfelt plea for a new, free Afghanistan

published. The New Arab

quote. "When guns want to silence harmless human ecstasy, colour and music, is there hope to sing and dance again in Afghanistan?"

title. Neil Jenney’s Modern Africa Series in “American Realism Today” at Gagosian Gallery

published. Observer

quote. "Jenney’s “Modern Africa” falls short of a radical, Surrealist proposal and shrinks to the miniature of a kitsch background when it could have offered the possibility of a vibrant homage to bustling countries and cultures (plural matters)."

2021

title. 'The Other Side of Silence': Hrair Sarkissian exhibited at the Sharjah Art Foundation

published. The New Arab

quote. "Sarkissian dives in the uncanny in his eerily quiet snapshots of mundane-looking squares. Taken early morning, the photographs – a macabre stage once the viewer understands their theatricality – strikes by an absence of visible bodies. Sarkissian fights against erasure, against normalising the abnormal. His still-life squares whisper to us, would you want to die this way, in this place?"

title. “Detail from a Mural” at Salon 94 Honors the Influential Artist Ahmed Morsi

published. Observer

quote. "In the airy and light-filled room of New York’s Upper East Side, Salon 94 presents Morsi’s artworks, spanning from 1948 to 2010. They carry a distinctive uncanniness, reminiscence, and the symbolic, gentle movement and hypnotic hues of the Alexandrian sea he continues to miss."

title. Ibrahim Mursal’s The Art of Sin: Who decides what is normal?

published. The Brooklyn Rail

quote. "Umar undergoes a difficult physical transformation prior to his long-awaited return. He shaves his head. He is visibly nervous and struggles to hide his emotions. He misses family members whom he may not see again for several years. 'This is my country,' he simply says, as people answer when asked why they love the person they love. They just do."

title. Living On the Edge: Journeys Through the Outer Fringes of Paris

published. Elephant Magazine

quote. "Throughout Périphérique, young people try to reclaim geographies as best they can: in the building corridors, entrance lobbies, and contested communal terrains. Sport is an escape and friendship an extension of family. Women make fleeting appearances in what remain male-dominated spaces where gender roles are rigidly assigned."

title. Remembering Etel Adnan: Between nature, art and belonging

published. The New Arab

quote. "Etel Adnan did not become the architect she wanted to be. Instead, the visual artist and writer built scaffoldings, temples of memory, nostalgia and justice which we cannot always see in physical expression but inexpressibly and intimately feel in our hearts."

title. Hilma af Klint’s “Tree of Knowledge” Watercolors on Display at David Zwirner

published. Observer

quote. "Af Klint’s trees cast a shadow and thus convey nuance and intensity. Her interpretation of this theme is prismatic and complex. Her trees come alive under gentle strokes, with heart-shaped crowns delicately framing higher spheres. A halo, womb-like shape embraces the trees and within them, we find angular and binary constructions suggesting opposition and necessary complementarity."

title. 'Alternative Narratives: Islamic Mythology, Reimagined': Self-representation and identity in the digital age

published. The New Arab

quote. "His heavens start with the space closest to the artist – an object of love, a heart – to the more spiritual, eventually reaching the divine. Samman draws a geography of desire, connectivity and outlines in the ascending concentric circles how we situate our place on Earth and in celestial spheres."

title. Transience, Transformation and the Iridescent Work of Gabriel de la Mora

published. Elephant Magazine

quote. "The artworks in Lepidoptera are metaphorical portals, inviting us through their shape, construction and extraordinary colour-shifting ability to meditate on finality and the chance of starting anew."

title. 10 Artists to Discover at the 2021 New Museum Triennial

published. Artsy

quote. "Taking its title from a Brazilian proverb, the exhibition borrows from the phrase the notion of limits, tenacity, and inevitable decay, and reminds us that one cannot be understood without the other."

title. Before the Rise: Recreating the Forgotten Dubai of the 1970s

published. Elephant Magazine

quote. "Yet myth-building is by essence political. As Reisz reminds us, it’s essential to historicise the city as a living, breathing space of past, present and future."

title. Vasily Kandinsky Brings Life to the Guggenheim

published. Observer

quote. "Kandinsky’s non-objective leans towards an exploration of the subconscious; its form is multidimensional and freeing. His art conveys a sensation of memory but also carries elements of a collective unconsciousness. For Kandinsky, art is an experience of spiritual elevation. Harmony coexists with discord on a canvas as much as in the fleeting space called life."

title. ‘Art on Paper’ at Pier 36 Held for the First Time Since March 2020

published. Observer

quote."In Green’s sculpture, book pages are whimsically folded and superimposed, mimicking the organicity of honeycombed, alveolar patterns which together create a wall, a sanctuary, the softness of a retreat, perhaps even the insides of a creature. It’s an introvert’s shelter, a silent refuge silencing the sirens."

title. In Transit

published. Mekong Review

quote. "It doesn’t feel so long ago that I visited Anlong Veng on my way to Preah Vihear temple. En route, in a humble roadside wooden shack, I had eaten a breakfast I still think about often: rice and a perfectly fried egg with a generous, runny yolk and a bit of glutamate sprinkled over it for flavour."

title. The Louvre Shouldn’t Exhibit Trafficked Antiquities from Libya and Syria

published. Hyperallergic

quote. "The museum views their presence as a testament, a contribution to increased public awareness on the issue of looting — except it forgets that it is already a violent graveyard of colonial-era cultural trophies removed from their homelands under dubious circumstances."

title. Visiting Martin Roth’s Experimental Plant Concert Where Ruins Meet Nature

published. Observer

quote. "Overgrown, the former City Club is a Romantic dream. It feels like stepping in the 18th and 19th-century ruin paintings of Canaletto, William Turner or Hubert Robert. Leaning towards familiar melancholy, I could imagine French writer Chateaubriand’s sensation standing in the Colosseum apprehending the decrepitude of the world."

title. Asia Society Triennial “We Do Not Dream Alone” Unifies Artists Across Continents

published. Observer

quote. "Eternity is both female and male which is to say, it is neither. But the conjoined statues are also telling the story of a sophisticated Khmer artefact interrupting Venus’s majesty as an enduring symbol of Western arrogance and its jealous appropriation of what constitutes 'civilization'."

title. The Met’s ‘Good Life’ Shows Life Was Good, for Some

published. Observer

quote. "Where is the good life of masses, regular people, who formed the backbone of Egyptian society since time immemorial? One 6th-century fragment on display hints at the centrality of the Nile floods on the everyday life of Egyptians, which meant abundance or famine, and I craved for more, to immerse in their prayers, rituals and festivals." 

title. The Murals of Yemen's Haifa Subay (interview with the artist)

published. The Markaz Review, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books

quote. "I want to portray women not only as victims but also show the other side, the bright side — peace, hope, happiness — which gives the positive energy we need to carry on living in these hard times."

title. ‘Haunting The West’ Explores Artist Michael Rakowitz, Colonialism, and Restitution

published. Observer

quote. "For Rakowitz, museums are 'crime palaces' and his artistic journey is first a response to colonial violence, reckoning with institutionalized displays of superior, asymmetrical brutality."