Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

  • Huguette Caland, Helen, 1967, oil on linen, 28 x 34".

    Huguette Caland

    The Lebanese-born, California-based artist Huguette Caland has burned through numerous styles, moods, and media in the five decades since she made her first painting, a monochrome titled Red Sun, to mark the death of her father in 1964. At the Beirut Exhibition Center, the work was placed just inside the entrance, where it marked the beginning and end points of Caland’s first retrospective in Lebanon, which took a full-circle tour through the three major historical phases of her work. Produced as a ruminative elegy to her father, Bechara El- Khoury—who was Lebanon’s first postindependence

  • Tanya Habjouqa, Untitled, 2010, C-print, 30 x 40". From the series “Women of Gaza,” 2010. From “She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World.”

    “She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World”

    Taking its title from the young photographers’ collective Rawiya, whose name means “she who tells a story” in Arabic, this exhibition features one hundred images by a dozen artists, all of them women, who cover a range of styles and subjects as complex and contradictory as the region from which they hail. Divided into three chapters—“Deconstructing Orientalism,” “Constructing Identities,” and “New Documentary”—the show revisits photographs from the 1990s by Jananne Al-Ani, Shadi Ghadirian, and Shirin Neshat, wherein the veil appears as a theatrical device, and

  • Cyprien Gaillard, Artefacts, 2011, digital video transferred to 35 mm, color, sound, continuous loop.

    Cyprien Gaillard

    The bold beating heart of “The Crystal World,” Cyprien Gaillard’s first solo exhibition at a museum in New York, was a work that viewers could hear before they could see it. A snatch of an old David Gray song, endlessly repeating the name of an ancient place with as heavy a sorrow as anodyne pop could bear, drifted through the corridors and drew visitors into a large, darkened room. There, beyond the crackle and whir of a 35-mm film projector, Gaillard’s mesmerizing elegy for a ruined Iraq, Artefacts, 2011, was playing in a continuous loop on a screen more than nineteen feet high. The artist

  • Zarina Hashmi, Dividing Line, 2001, woodcut, Indian handmade paper, 25 3/4 x 19 3/4”.
    picks March 29, 2013

    Zarina Hashmi

    The lines of Zarina Hashmi’s woodcut-printed and paper-woven maps evoke territorial borders, historical ruptures, and communal scars with a visual language that looks like Minimalism and moves like poetry. Long overdue, Hashmi’s first retrospective, curated by Allegra Pesenti, opened at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles last fall and travels to the Art Institute of Chicago this summer. For now, it resides in the galleries beside the Guggenheim’s central rotunda, which feels spatially right—a small selection of delicate works tucked into an intimate corner.

    The viewer’s close proximity to the

  • Left: MoMA PS1 curator Peter Eleey with Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi, president and director of the Sharjah Art Foundation. Right: Artist Wael Shawky with Sharjah Biennial 11 curator Yuko Hasegawa. (All photos: Kaelen Wilson-Goldie)
    diary March 22, 2013

    Spring Break

    THEY WEREN’T TOGETHER LONG, and they were arguably mismatched from the start. She was older, more serious, sober, and down to earth. By all outward appearances, she was also indifferent to the business of buying and selling art. She flirted with the deeper, more disruptive powers of contemporary cultural production until they blew up in her face two years ago, compelling her to return to a more diplomatic, community-minded middle ground. He, meanwhile, was young and brash, an ostentatious lush. No matter how much noise he made in her direction—the special projects, discursive platforms, and

  • Amal Kenawy, Silence of the Lambs, 2009. Performance view, Cairo, December 16, 2009. Photo: Nikki Columbus.
    passages February 12, 2013

    Amal Kenawy (1974–2012)

    ON NEW YEAR’S DAY three years ago, the writer Nikki Columbus emailed me a photograph she’d taken a few weeks earlier of an explosive street performance in Cairo by the Egyptian artist Amal Kenawy. Columbus had curated a rumbling show on theatricality and spectatorship for the Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art, featuring works by Cyprien Gaillard, David Levine, Jill Magid, Enrique Metinides, and Walid Raad, among others. Kenawy’s piece was meant to be performed twice to mark the opening and closing of the exhibition. The first time proved so volatile that the work, titled Silence of the Lambs

  • Left: Sheikha Hoor al-Qasimi, president and director of Sharjah Art Foundation, with MoMA PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach. Right: Sharjah Biennial 11 curator Yuko Hasegawa. (Photos: Scott Rudd)
    diary January 21, 2013

    Quiet Storm

    THE NEXT EDITION of the Sharjah Biennial won’t open for another seven weeks but already the blitz is on. Held in the sleepiest and most austere of the seven tiny sheikhdoms that make up the United Arab Emirates, this perennial art event is highly unlikely and therefore wholly intriguing. It was a little over a year ago that the Sharjah Art Foundation named Yuko Hasegawa the curator of the next exhibition, and since then, they’ve been carefully parceling out information at a rate of about a press release every other month, leaking an enticingly partial list of artists here, tracing the curious

  • Left: Artist Khalil Joreige with curator Shwetal Patel, executive officer of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Right: Artist Bose Krishnamachari, artistic director and co-curator of the first Kochi-Muziris Biennale. (Except where noted, all photos: Kaelen Wilson-Goldie)
    diary January 01, 2013

    Do You Remember the First Time?

    LET’S DISPENSE WITH THE GRISLY DETAILS. The world did not come crashing to a cataclysmic end on 12/12/12 (already the less popular apocalyptic appointment on the Mayan calendar compared with 12/21/12), but on that date a few weeks ago, the first Kochi-Muziris Biennale flung open its doors to give onlookers an eyeful of total organizational chaos and an exhibition in shambles. The artists Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu—two of the so-called Bombay Boys, who began stirring up the Mumbai art scene back in the late 1990s—cofounded the biennial’s coordinating body just nineteen months ago. As

  • Postcard for Trans-Arabian Pipeline Company (Tapline), 1960. Found material for Rayyane Tabet’s series “The Shortest Distance Between Two Points,” 2007–.


    DURING THE FIRST DECADE of the oil age in Saudi Arabia—after the royal family granted the first concessions to American companies in the 1930s but before a wave of labor protests surged through the Eastern Province in the 1950s—petroleum was being exported through a short pipeline from the drilling fields of Dammam to the port city of Dhahran. It was barreled there, then carried by ship in a grand arc around the Arabian Peninsula and through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea. In the aftermath of World War II, however, a group of engineers and oil executives, fearful of maritime

  • Pablo Lobato, Overturned Bronze, 2011, HD video, color, sound, 4 minutes 52 seconds. From the 11th Sharjah Biennial.

    11th Sharjah Biennial

    “Almost two years have passed since the Sharjah Biennial experienced a curatorial and organizational meltdown.”

    Almost two years have passed since the Sharjah Biennial experienced a curatorial and organizational meltdown. The director, Jack Persekian, was fired; perhaps more consequentially, an installation by the Algerian artist Mustapha Benfodil was abruptly dismantled and taken away. Benfodil’s piece had been placed in a courtyard, and the very public nature of that space hastened the work’s undoing. Now, in a clever inversion of fates, the courtyard itself is the concept of the forthcoming edition. Curator Yuko Hasegawa has commissioned work from artists such as Saâdane Afif,

  • Asunción Molinos Gordo, El-Matam El-Mish-Masry (The Non-Egyptian Restaurant), 2012. Photo: Robert Stothard.
    slant December 28, 2012

    Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

    DURING THE FIRST WEEK OF NOVEMBER, the Spanish-born, Cairo-based artist Asunción Molinos Gordo invited a top chef to create haute cuisine from the best Egyptian produce that money could buy, and then offered six dishes to neighborhood diners for just five Egyptians pounds apiece (around eighty cents). This was the opening act in Molinos’s four-part, monthlong art project titled El-Matam El-Mish-Masry (The Non-Egyptian Restaurant), a site-specific installation doubling as a performance that was conceived for the five-year-old art space Artellewa. Located in the depths of a sprawling informal

  • Left: Artist Walid Sadek and designer Jennifer Hage Obeid. Right: Artist Akram Zaatari with Centre Pompidou curator Clément Chéroux. (All photos: Kaelen Wilson-Goldie)
    diary December 12, 2012

    History Lessons

    BEIRUT IS TWO HOURS FROM DAMASCUS BY CAR, an hour from Cairo by plane, and if one were to travel due south and keep going—a journey once common but currently impossible—Beirut would be a leisurely four-hour taxi ride from Gaza City, with a view to the Mediterranean all the way down the coast. But no matter how close, Beirut these days feels a world away from the revolutions and wars that have been rumbling through neighboring countries for nearly two years now. Twelve months ago, the city seemed eerily calm. Now it just seems stagnant, a sad, enervated aberration among the more hopeful strands