“Here & Elsewhere,” Window Into Arab World, Opens at New Museum

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Artist: Wafa Hourani; Qalandia 2067. Photos by Viviane Eng/The Lo-Down.

The New Museum is known for showcasing the works of international artists who are often overlooked in the United States. Its new exhibition opening today, “Here & Elsewhere,” certainly fulfills that mission. The show, featuring 45 contemporary artists from the Arab World, is one of the largest surveys ever undertaken by the Lower East Side institution. It’s also the first museum-wide exhibition of Arab art in New York City.

The opening comes at a particularly tense moment, as violent clashes between Israel and Hamas intensify.  The Mideast conflict has directly impacted the New Museum’s exhibition. One high profile artist who was scheduled to be in New York for the opening, Palestinian Khaled Jarrar, was barred by Israel from leaving the West Bank.

But during a press preview yesterday, Massimiliano Gioni, the New Museum’s associate director, emphasized that the wide-ranging show is broad-based, both thematically and geographically.  It is devoted to surveying diverse perspectives from artists in more than a dozen countries and “works against the notion of the Arab world as a homogeneous or cohesive entity.”

The title, “Here & Elsewhere,” is borrowed from the 1976 film about the Palestinian conflict by by French directors Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin and Anne-Marie Miéville.  Taking its cues from the influential film, the exhibition explores the roles of artists in reflecting current events and in documenting individual experiences.

The show will be on view at the New Museum until the end of September. Click here for more information.

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Oil paintings by the Syrian artist, Marwan.

Oil paintings by the Syrian artist, Marwan.

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Artist: Bouchra Khalili; “The Mapping Journey Project.”

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Hassan Sharif’s “Suspended Objects,” 2011.

Massimiliano Gioni, the New Museum's associate director.

Massimiliano Gioni, the New Museum’s associate director.