Art Palestine International is a New York-based cultural organization dedicated to Palestinian contemporary art. We collaborate with museums, galleries, and non-profits to produce art exhibitions, events, and publications.

This blog is a research tool that allows us to chart our research and invite others along on the journey.

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Emily Jacir’s new work: a closed-circuit conveyor belt going endlessly in circles.

Emily Jacir’s new work  will open the 54th edition of the Venice Biennale, June 4, 2011. This year’s Biennale, entitled “Installations” will  include a large number of Middle Eastern artists.

CAA Panel Wrap-up

Last week, I attended a panel at the annual College Art Association conference entitled “Interdependent Identity: Paradigm and Paradox in Contemporary Israeli and Palestinian Art”. Organized by Noah Simblist of SMU and Sarah Rogers of Columbia’s Global Center Amman, it was an interesting exploration of various elements of the occupation and its impact on artists.

The panel began with Adair Rounthwaite (U of Minnesota), who discussed Emily Jacir’s piece, “Sexy Semite.” For this work, Jacir contacted 60 Palestinians living in the New York area and asked them to place ‘sexy’ personal ads in the Village Voice as if they were looking for a Jewish mate, which would allow them to return to Palestine/Israel thanks to the Law of Return.

Rounthwaite pointed out that the work combines oppression and desire. She offered in comparison a piece by Kara Walker consisting of a letter from a sexually subjugated black girl to her white master.

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Panel at the NY HIlton

Starting in NYC tomorrow, Wednesday, February 9th, the CAA (College Art Association) will hold its 99th conference – open to the public – at the NY Hilton, 6th Avenue and 53rd St. From 2.30PM to 5.00PM there will be a panel discussion entitled Interdependent Identity: Paradigm and Paradox in Contemporary Israeli and Palestinian Art. Session tickets are $35. We urge you to go, and for those of you overseas, we will send a wrapup (with photos) by the end of the week

Click here for the CAA schedule.

Emily Jacir: Hugo Boss Prize Exhibition

For years, artist Emily Jacir has addressed the political and social plight of Palestine through an intense and intimate concentration on the everyday. Jacir’s ability to poeticize the quotidian as a way of telling the story of a people – her people – earned her the 2008 Hugo Boss Prize, which carries with it a $100,000 cash prize and a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum. This exhibition, which runs through April 15, builds on her ongoing conceptual practice while continuing to bear witness to Palestinian culture. Part archive, part memorial, part performance, the exhibition is a concentrated work of art that presents an image of absence and of a life cut short.

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Emily Jacir: Press Round-Up

I’m going to see Emily Jacir’s show at the Guggenheim tomorrow. The work shown is a multimedia installation called Material for a Film, which explores the life of Wael Zuaiter, a Palestinian intellectual who was assassinated because of his suspected link to the 1972 Munich attacks.

Before I go, I thought I would do a quick roundup of some of the reviews published in New York and London.

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Route 181, and Documentary Criticism

I’ve just returned from a trip to Australia, which explains why I haven’t been posting for the past week. While I was there a colleague recommended that I watch a film called Route 181 (2004, dir. Michael Khleifi and Eyal Sivan). Now I can’t seem to find it – anyone know where I can get a DVD? Email us.

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Palestine c/o Venice

Jawad Al Malhi, House No. 197, 2007-2009

e-Flux ran an announcement this morning for a Palestinian pavilion to take at the Venice Biennale. The selected artists include Taysir Batniji, who is included in our show ‘First Person’, and Shadi HabibAllah, now getting his MFA at Columbia. Also in the show: Emily jacir, Jawad AL Malhi, Khalil Rabah, Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti.

In 2003, Francesco Bonami tried to include a Palestinian pavilion in the Biennale:

Not long after taking up the Venice directorship in March 2002, Mr. Bonami mentioned in a briefing to the Biennale’s board that he was considering adding a Palestinian pavilion to this year’s exhibition, which opens June 15. The next morning he woke up to find an article on the plan in Il Gazzettino, the major Venetian daily, which included criticism of it as needlessly provocative or even anti-Semitic. (Full article here)

The announcement of the 2009 version seems to have been handled much better – I don’t think there was any press about this until after the official statement was released. This is a good sign – hopefully the conversations provoked by the Palestinian pavilion will be more interesting the second time around.

UPDATE: It’s also worth noting that the organizers of Palestine c/o Venice have arranged to make presentations six Palestinian art institutions alongside the Biennale, to cater to audiences who are unable to travel or obtain visas.

The Great Emily Jacir Controversy?

This Friday, the Guggenheim will present an exhibition of work by Palestinian artist Emily Jacir, winner of the 2008 Hugo Boss Prize. The New York Times had an interview with her on Saturday. They asked:

Q. Do you expect your Guggenheim exhibition to attract controversy?

A. Unfortunately I am afraid it might. I really hope not, but the reality of the situation is that the Palestinian narrative has been strictly censored in this country, so when it does get a chance to be told, people get really upset.

Watch this space…