New York

Walid Raad

Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

The fifteen years of war that began in Lebanon in the mid-1970s, when Walid Raad was growing up there, and the enduring threat of violence in that country have been a steady presence in the artist’s work, though in devious ways. Instead of bluntly claiming a place for Lebanon’s tragedies in our attention, Raad has clothed himself in fictions, signing his work “The Atlas Group” and presenting it as a body of collective scholarship, academic, indeed picayune, to a fault. In combining a loaded subject with a recondite form, Raad has escaped the “didactic” label so often applied to heart-on-sleeve agitprop art, but his inventions are more than simply strategic; reflecting a sly, Borgesian sensibility and a subtle sense of history, they suggest that memory and even the most concrete documentary records are conditional rather than “true.”

Raad has now somewhat moved on, exhibiting under his own

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