Rasheed Araeen’s “Before and After Minimalism” pulls viewers through the initial twenty years of his career, with drawings, paintings, and sculptures from 1953 through 1973; it also includes a new work, Sharjah Blues, 2014, which was commissioned especially for the show. Araeen’s first major exhibition in the Middle East is thus neither a dutiful retrospective nor a comprehensive survey. Rather, the show reads like a highly compelling story hinging, by necessity, on spare language and a dramatically pared-down plot.
Born in Karachi, Pakistan, and based in London, Araeen is now seventy-nine years old and known for a great many things besides his artwhich he has never produced in great quantity. In 1970, he joined the Black Panther Party. Soon after, he grew disillusioned and quit. He repurposed some of his early sculptures to make props for politically radical performances
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