Babylon’s ancient Ishtar Gate is reconstructed with contemporary product wrappers; books carved from Afghan stone memorialize a German library destroyed in World War II; Saddam Hussein’s dinnerware turns up at a Park Avenue restaurant. In MICHAEL RAKOWITZ’s projects, cultural fragments are subject to a logic of transformation, replication, and circulation that allows them to telescope across regions and temporalities. If geopolitical conflicts are too often understood in abstract termsas a “clash of civilizations”Rakowitz traffics in the particular and the polysemic, prompting social exchange, linking disparate narratives, and opening up the historical enfilade that connects the United States’ recent military adventures to imperialism’s longue durée. In the process, critic and curator DIETER ROELSTRAETE suggests here, Rakowitz exposes the fundamental mutability of
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