PRINT October 2006


FROM THE PERSPECTIVE of an art magazine published in New York, the conflict that erupted this summer between Lebanon and Israel is at once near and far—a geopolitical situation of enormous gravity, wrenchingly and unremittingly conveyed in the global press yet difficult to plumb, perhaps by virtue of that very mediation. Artforum has, of course, neither the expertise nor the hubris to pretend to offer any corrective or comprehensive analysis. But we could not simply ignore the crisis.

As it happened, art historian and critic T. J. Demos had already begun work for us on a review of Modern Art Oxford’s “Out of Beirut,” an exhibition showcasing a generation of Lebanese artists, architects, and filmmakers whose work since the official conclusion of their country’s civil war in 1991 has dwelled on pivotal questions of memory and the experience of history. As Demos prepared his essay for publication, history overtook us, and we sought to expand and deepen, even rethink, our consideration of Beirut’s remarkable cultural resurgence of the past fifteen years. We turned to five individuals involved in the show—Lamia Joreige, Bernard Khoury, Walid Raad, Walid Sadek, and Christine Tohme—and asked them to reflect on the Lebanese crisis and its implications for their practices and for the culture at large.