Natasha Gasparian

  • Walid Sadek, untitled, 2020–22, acrylic and spray paint on aluminum plate, 9 7⁄8 × 7 7⁄8 × 1 1⁄8".

    Walid Sadek

    Walid Sadek rarely exhibits his work—he has had fewer than a handful of shows in the past two decades—and has resisted gallery representation. Possibly the most enigmatic artist of the so-called postwar generation, Sadek has centered his largely text-based practice on theorizations of the protractedness of the Lebanese Civil War (1975–90) after its declared end, and on a pursuit of new temporalities that could break with the presentist logic of what he calls “normative living.” In his rather austere Conceptual artwork, whose titles are often borrowed from his essays—“Place at Last” (2007), “

  • “Tripoliscope: In Search of Tripoli’s Cinema Culture and Practices,” (detail). Installation view.  Photo: Natasha Gasparian.
    picks March 15, 2022

    “Tripoliscope: In Search of Tripoli’s Cinema Culture and Practices”

    In “Tripoliscope: In Search of Tripoli’s Cinema Culture and Practices,” researcher Nathalie Rosa Bucher traces the activities of thirty-six of the forty-one cinemas active from the 1950s through the ’80s in Tripoli, Lebanon. To do so, she draws on the archive of the Société Commerciale Cinémathographique Tripoli Liban (SCCTL), a now-defunct company established in to oversee the Roxy, Rivoli, Odeon, and Dunia cinemas, among others with names likewise borrowed from distant places. Bucher stumbled upon this collection of documents, photographs, and film reels in an abandoned cinema and placed them

  • Aref El Rayess, Temps Moderne et Tiers Monde (Modern Times and the Third World), 1974, lacquer on wood, 10 3⁄8 × 10 3⁄8".

    Aref El Rayess

    In his 1968 review of “Blood and Freedom,” an exhibition by Aref El Rayess (1928–2005) that opened in the aftermath of the Six-Day War, journalist Walid Shmait noted formal inconsistencies in the artist’s work. He observed: “The path of revolution, for El Rayess, is split in its appearances but is unified in its concept and depth.” In pointing out the apparent stylistic variation of the paintings on display, Shmait succumbed to a common misperception about El Rayess, one that continues to this day. This misperception signals a problem—an impasse—in the reception of the artist’s oeuvre. The