News

Screening: Youssef Chahine's CAIRO, AS TOLD BY YOUSSEF CHAHINE and Jocelyne Saab's EGYPT, CITY OF THE DEAD

Anthology Film Archives
32 2nd Ave, New York
Thursday, October 26
7:30 pm

Join us Thursday for the third installment of our recurring film series at Anthology Film Archives, where we will be screening two documentaries about Cairo and its denizens: Youssef Chahine’s wry love letter to his adopted city, Cairo, as Told by Youssef Chahine (1991), and the US premiere of a new restoration of Jocelyne Saab’s Egypt, City of the Dead (1977).

The screening will be followed by a discussion with journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous and writer Hussein Omar, both of whom have family buried in the City of the Dead.

Proceeds from the screening will be donated to Medical Aid for Palestine.

Youssef Chahine
Cairo, as Told by Youssef Chahine
Egypt, 1991, 23 min, 35mm
In Arabic with English subtitles

Commissioned by French television to make a documentary about Cairo, iconic Egyptian director Youssef Chahine chose to mix observational footage with scripted vignettes to produce a mischievously meta film, marked by his characteristic humor, eroticism, and incisiveness. Despite its brevity, Cairo sensitively captures the dusty, chaotic beauty of city life, setting its numerous injustices—poverty, overcrowded living quarters, greedy real estate developers, and the violence of globalization—against the backdrop of the first Gulf War. Refusing the mock-objectivity of reportage, Chahine presents a portrait of the city through his love for its inhabitants.

Jocelyne Saab
Egypt, City of the Dead
Lebanon, 1977, 38 min, 16mm-to-digital
In Arabic and French with English subtitles

In recent years, the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has begun to raze large swaths of Cairo’s historic necropolis, a sprawling series of cemeteries where hundreds of thousands of the city’s poorest have taken up residence, squatting inside and around the centuries-old mausoleums, in an emphatic confluence of poverty and death. The destruction of the area, known as the City of the Dead, is both a mass eviction and the latest in Sisi’s assault on Egyptian life in the service of rapid development. Jocelyne Saab’s 1977 film documents the community living inside the necropolis alongside other members of Cairo’s toiling classes. Featuring music from Sheikh Imam and commentary from other leftists, including Lutfi el-Kholi, the screenwriter of Chahine’s The Sparrow (1972). US premiere of 2k restoration completed in 2023 in France and Lebanon by the Jocelyne Saab Association.

$12 General Admission / $9 Seniors and Students Tickets available at the box office or at the Anthology Film Archives website

Screening: Nadia El Fani’s BEDWIN HACKER

Anthology Film Archives 32 2nd Ave, New York Thursday, August 3 7:30 pm

Join us for the second installment of our recurring film series at Anthology Film Archives, where we will be hosting a screening of French-Tunisian filmmaker Nadia El-Fani’s low-budget hacker drama, Bedwin Hacker (2003).

In this campy millennium cyber-thriller, culture-jamming hacker Kalt, AKA “Bedwin Hacker,” hijacks European television stations from her Tunisian mountain hideout. With the help of her motley crew of freedom-loving poets, queers, and musicians, she broadcasts cryptic political messages delivered by a cartoon camel. Meanwhile, a French intelligence agent named Julia relentlessly pursues the elusive pirate, with whom she shares multiple romantic entanglements, past and present…

$12 General Admission / $9 Seniors and Students Tickets available at the box office or at the Anthology Film Archives website

Meriem Bennani: Life on the CAPS Book Launch

B7L9 Art Station
Bhar Lazreg
La Marsa, Tunisia
June 22, 6:30 PM

On the occasion of Meriem Bennani’s exhibition Life on the CAPS, to open this week at Tunis’s BL79 Art Station / Kamel Lazaar Foundation, we will be launching a publication of the same name.

The book is the artist’s first comprehensive monograph and includes essays by writers Emily LaBarge and Elvia Wilk, alongside conversations with Omar Berrada, Fatima Al Qadiri, Amal Benzekri, Aziz Bouyabrine, and Bidoun.

The opening and book launch will be followed by a conversation between Meriem Bennani, Negar Azimi, Tiffany Malakooti, and Myriam Ben Salah.

Life on the CAPS, the book, is co-edited by Bidoun’s Negar Azimi and Tiffany Malakooti, and published by The Renaissance Society and Bidoun.

Screening: Tahani Rached’s FOUR WOMEN OF EGYPT and Heiny Srour’s THE SINGING SHEIKH

Anthology Film Archives
32 2nd Ave, New York
Thursday, June 15, 2023
7 pm

Join us for the first in an ongoing series of Bidoun-curated screenings at Anthology Film Archives that privilege rare and/or underappreciated films. For the inaugural installment, we’ll be presenting the cult favorite documentary Four Women of Egypt from Egyptian-Canadian director Tahani Rached. Her film will be preceded by The Singing Sheikh, a short by Lebanese director Heiny Srour on the iconic dissident Egyptian folk musician, Sheikh Imam.

The screening will include:

Tahani Rached
Four Women of Egypt
1997, 89 min, digital
In Arabic and French with English subtitles

A portrait of four friends in Cairo (Wedad Mitry, Safinaz Kazem, Shahenda Maklad, and Amina Rachid), all born under colonial occupation, and all former political prisoners under Sadat. Despite ideological differences, the women maintain their friendships – sustained by their humor, warmth, commitment to politics, and shared ideals of social justice. Four Women of Egypt is a testament to both friendships and politics that have endured the violence and disappointments of 20th-century Egypt.

preceded by:

Heiny Srour
The Singing Sheikh
1991, 11 min, digital
In Arabic with English subtitles
A rarely-seen documentary on Sheikh Imam, the legendary and frequently imprisoned Egyptian folk musician whose political songs fearlessly indicted the ruling classes.

Total running time: ca. 105 min
$12 General Admission / $9 Seniors and Students Tickets available at the box office or at the Anthology Film Archives website

Artists Against Apartheid, Bidoun, and Shasha Movies at Anthology Film Archive

Still from Here & Elsewhere (1976). Dir. Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin & Anne-Marie Miéville

Godard, Miéville, Hatoum, and Yaqubi at Anthology Film Archives
New York
February 23, 2023
7:30 PM

Artists Against Apartheid, Bidoun, and Shasha Movies present Jean-Luc Godard and Anne Marie Miéville’s Here and Elsewhere (1976), alongside Mohanad Yaqubi’s Off Frame (2016) and Mona Hatoum’s Measures of Distance (1988).

It has been 45 years since Godard and Miéville made Here and Elsewhere, a filmic essay that has exercised a talismanic power over generations of artists and audiences with its stark, self-critical meditation on cinema’s limitations in representing faraway realities, in this case, the ongoing Palestinian resistance movement of the 1970s.

Screened alongside, Mona Hatoum’s elegiac and epistolary Measures of Distance (1988) and Mohanad Yaqubi’s Off Frame (2016) provide a Palestinian counterpoint, as filmmakers of different generations offer up inspired explorations of word, image, and narrative.

Proceeds from the screening will go toward Medical Aid for Palestinians.

The screening will be followed by a conversation between critic and curator Ed Halter & filmmaker Zeina Durra.

Nicolas Moufarrege at CCA Berlin

Nicolas Moufarrege, Title Unknown, 1985

Nicolas Moufarrege
Mutant International
CCA Berlin
February 9 - March 19, 2023

Bidoun and CCA Berlin are pleased to announce Mutant International, an exhibition featuring a selection of works by Egyptian-born Lebanese artist Nicolas Moufarrege (1947-1985) – his first institutional solo exhibition in Germany.

A prodigious visual artist, writer, and curator, Moufarrege made wry, sophisticated, and exuberant work over a ten-year career that spanned Beirut, Paris, and New York. His practice rethought the Western art canon and Levantine weaving traditions through irreverent engagements with painting and sewing, graffiti and collage, Pop and the esoteric. Having launched himself in Beirut in the 1970s, Moufarrege left shortly after the calamitous beginnings of the long civil wars and moved to Paris, where he started producing large, tapestry-adjacent works. He arrived in New York’s East Village in 1981, just as an art scene was coming together amid a handful of crumbling tenements. In that city, he curated unusual, much-talked-about exhibitions, penned high-stakes essays and manifestos, and showed his own unclassifiable artworks. New York is also where he died of AIDS-related complications at the age of 37.

Moufarrege’s sui generis, shape-shifting work remains largely absent from the annals of art history — missing in Lebanon, as well, despite all the illustrious efforts of the last 15 years to make sense of art from the broader Arabic-speaking region. But it is missing, too, from most retrospective looks at American painting in the 1980s or The Pictures Generation. As for the East Village scene which he was so intimately tied to, he has tended to appear as a footnote, a curiosity with a foreign-sounding name.

The concise selection of works — tapestries, embroidered paintings, and drawings — as well as archival documents and ephemera on view as part of Nicolas Moufarrege: Mutant International draws a rich trajectory of artmaking informed by diasporic yearning and queer jouissance, and shaped through a delirious hodgepodge of references spanning Islamic calligraphy, superhero comics, cultures of advertising, and gay erotica.

While Moufarrege’s name all but disappeared following his too-early death, Bidoun and CCA Berlin are committed to bringing attention to his largely unknown body of work, while also using it as a springboard for a broader discussion about art and erasure, queer aesthetics in 20th-century art, and the cultural legacies of the AIDS epidemic.

On March 12, a public symposium organized by Bidoun featuring contributions by Nick Mauss, Michael C. Vazquez, Xandro Segade, and others will offer multiple lenses through which to view Moufarrege’s idiosyncratic oeuvre, in part by speaking to and about the cities in which he lived and worked — storied cosmopolitan enclaves, from 1950s Alexandria to 1960s Beirut, 1970s Paris to 1980s New York.

The works on view as part of Nicolas Moufarrege: Mutant International were selected by Negar Azimi (Bidoun) and Edwin Nasr (Associate Curator CCA Berlin). The exhibition was made possible through the generous support of Mohammed Fakhro, Raghida Ghandour, Ranya Husami Ghandour, Maria Sukkar, Tony Tamer, and Sultan Al Qassemi. Special thanks to Nabil and Hanan Moufarrege, as well as Dean Daderko.

Fereydoun Ave and the Laal Collection at the 58th Carnegie International

Ashurbanipal Babilla, Untitled, 1976. Mixed Media on paper. Courtesy Laal Collection

Organized by Negar Azimi and Sohrab Mohebbi

Carnegie Museum of Art
September 24 - April 2, 2023
Pittsburgh, PA

Over the past five decades, the artist Fereydoun Ave has assembled a singular collection of modern and contemporary Iranian art inflected by personal history, friendship, sensibility, and circumstance.

On returning to Iran in 1970 after years of education abroad, Ave worked as a curator and designer at Tehran’s Iran-America Society Cultural Center, where he organized groundbreaking exhibitions of Iranian and international artists. Around the same time, he began collecting art with money borrowed from his grandmother. Ave continued to collect over the years, while he moved on to positions at consequential Tehran arts institutions, including the avant-garde Kargah-e Namayesh (Theater Workshop), where he worked as a resident designer, and the Zand Gallery, where he served as Artistic Director.

After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Ave stayed behind as his compatriots left the country in droves. In the early 1980s he launched 13 Vanak, an independent art space for Iranian artists in a disused garden shed in an iconic Tehran square. The nimble and irreverent exhibitions at 13 Vanak attracted diverse audiences, including, on occasion, befuddled agents of the state. Though 13 Vanak closed in 2009, Ave has continued to mentor successive generations of artists both in and outside Iran.

The relationship between art and life, like history, is messy, impossible to tame. Ave, who is an accomplished artist himself, serves as both subject and cipher of this presentation, a vantage onto the fascinating—and contested—cultural history of 20th- and 21st-century Iran.

The Laal Collection presentation is curated by Bidoun’s Negar Azimi and Sohrab Mohebbi, Bidoun Contributing Editor and the Kathe and Jim Patrinos Curator of the 58th Carnegie International.

The 58th Carnegie International is on view at the Carnegie Museum of Art from September 24, 2022 through April 2, 2023.

Artists: Shirin Aliabadi, Yaghoub Amaemehpich, Nazgol Ansarinia, Fereydoun Ave, Haydeh Ayazi, Ashurbanipal Babilla, Sadra Baniasadi, Leyly Matine-Daftary, Davood Emdadian, Parvaneh Etemadi, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Raana Farnoud, Shahab Fotouhi, Ali Golestaneh, Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, Arash Hanaiae, Khosrow Hassanzadeh, Sirak Melkonian, Yashar Samimi Mofakham, Ardeshir Mohasses, Houman Mortazavi, Farhad Moshiri, Nikzad Nodjoumi, Iman Raad, Behjat Sadr, Bijan Saffari, Mostafa Sarabi, Mamali Shafahi, Reza Shafahi, Shideh Tami, Cy Twombly, Manouchehr Yektai, Hossein-Ali Zabehi.

A comprehensive book on Fereydoun Ave, edited by Negar Azimi, Aria Kasaei, and Sohrab Mohebbi, is in progress.

Negar Azimi and Sohrab Mohebbi would like to thank those who helped make this presentation possible: Aria Kasaei, Ali Bakhtiari, Rochanak Etemad, Omid Bonakdar, Shaqayeq Arabi, Hormoz Hematian, Alireza Fatehi, Balice Hertling Gallery, Dastan Gallery, Farhad Moshiri, Sohrab Mahdavi, and Roya Khadjavi-Heidari.

Maria Golia Reading in NYC

Square Diner
33 Leonard Street
New York
Thursday, May 19
6:30 PM

Bidoun & The Colloquium for Unpopular Culture Present:

The Ornette Effect: Coleman Biographer Maria Golia in conversation with Sukhdev Sandhu and Michael C. Vazquez. Introduced by Negar Azimi

Maria Golia, a long-time friend of Bidoun, will read an excerpt from her biography of the great American saxophonist and free jazz innovator Ornette Coleman (Ornette Coleman: The Territory and the Adventure, Reaktion Books). To be followed by a discussion on and around tomb-raiding, photography, and objects that fall from the sky.

About Maria Golia: Author of sundry nonfictions, Golia was born in New Jersey prior to the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Marylyn Monroe’s suicide, and the first lunar landing, Former student of neurophysiology, Texas nightclub manager, and tutor of Islamic art and architecture to Kuwaiti royalty. Fellow of the London Institute of Ecotechnics and non-driver. Lifetime interest in the quandaries of a discontinuous reality, singularities, and the exploration of urban and inner space. Residing in Egypt since 1992.

Book Launch: Neïl Beloufa's People Love War Data & Travels

François Ghebaly
391 Grand Street
New York
Sunday, November 14, 2021
2-4 Pm

François Ghebaly, Bidoun, and After 8 Books invite you to the New York launch of Neïl Beloufa’s People Love War Data & Travels at François Ghebaly NY on Sunday, November 14th from 2 to 4 pm.

Neïl Beloufa’s first book-length monograph culls the artist’s zigzag work from 2007 to the present. Beloufa’s commitment to making visible the conditions of his art-making is well-known and this book is no exception; it is as generous, transparent, experimental and chaotic as he is.

With readings by Ruba Katrib, Negar Azimi, and a conversation between the artist and Myriam Ben Salah.

Reza Abdoh Book Launch

Green Oasis
370 East 8th Street, NYC
Sunday, September 26th @ 7 PM

Readings by:

Morgan Bassichis
Juliana Francis-Kelly
Tobi Haslett
Jennifer Krasinski
Nick Mauss
Elizabeth Wiet

+ music and drink

We <3 Beirut

Myriam Boulos, Family First, 2020. Courtesy the artist

Dear Friends,

Like many of you, we were consumed by news of the August 4 explosion that ripped through Beirut, a city already in the midst of a political and economic crisis of mind-boggling proportions. The need for help remains urgent. We’ve asked friends and colleagues to send on the names of Lebanese organizations working across multiple sectors that could use donations of all sizes. While this list of both scrappy and long-established groups is by no means exhaustive, it offers a start. Please do consider engaging with one or more of these initiatives; even the littlest amount goes a long way.

–Bidoun

Arts & Culture
Arab Image Foundation
Ashkal Alwan
Assabil Association
Beirut Art Center
Beirut Musicians’ Fund
Beirut Theatre and Music Fundraiser
Haven for Artists and Music
Mina Image Center
Studio Safar
Sursock Museum

Domestic Workers
Egna Legna
This is Lebanon

Food/Humanitarian
Arc en Ciel
Arm Lebanon
Beit-beit
Beit El Baraka
Impact Lebanon
Lebanese Food Bank
Matbakh el Balad
Nation State
Offre Joie
Queer Relief Fund

Refugees, Migrant Workers
Al Najdeh
Al Naqab Center for Youth Activities
Migrant Community Center
Sawa for Development and Aid

Screen Talk & Content Conundrum

Neïl Beloufa & Meriem Bennani in conversation with Myriam Ben Salah

Friday, May 29 at 11 AM PST, 2 PM EST, 8 PM CET
ZOOM

Artist project… Confinement diary… Quarantine questionnaire… Playlist… Recipe? With museums, galleries, and sundry cultural centers shuttered amid our ongoing pandemic present, artists are increasingly being called upon to become providers of digital content cum entertainment. It’s hard not to be cynical about these appeals, as commissioning institutions scramble to justify their continued existence even as their physical spaces disappear. (Of course, Bidoun does not exempt itself from this legitimate querying of content production in the age of Corona.)

This Friday, May 29 @ 2 PM EST Bidoun presents a live conversation between the artists Neïl Beloufa and Meriem Bennani about the perks and pitfalls of centralized digital platforms for making and experiencing art. Beloufa has long been thinking about the manner in which art is made, circulated, seen. His current project, Screen Talk, is at once a surreal mini-series and a zigzag alternative distribution network. Could the internet, with all its concomitant liberties and limitations, provide a generative platform divorced from stifling vertical hierarchies and institutional agendas? Adapted from a film originally shot in 2014, Screen Talk the mini-series adopts a vaudevillian tone and posture in depicting a world turned topsy-turvy by a strange pandemic. Screen Talk is accessible via an interactive website whose design has been conceived as an artwork.

Launched in March and first circulated via Instagram, Bennani’s ongoing animated series 2 Lizards (made with Orian Barki) offers up a moody and hypnotic DIY portrait of how art might begin to make sense of this moment. Each episode follows the humanoid lizards, voiced by the artists, as they slowly absorb the reality—both surreal and true—of life in New York City under quarantine: a land of Zoom birthdays, distracted porn consumption, over-stressed medical heroes, errant gloves, an eerily deserted Times Square.

The artists will be joined in conversation with Myriam Ben Salah, newly appointed Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Renaissance Society in Chicago.

To attend the talk, click here.

Presented in collaboration with Francois Ghebaly Gallery.

Nicolas Moufarrege Symposium at the Queens Museum

International Mutant:
Nicolas Moufarrege in Time and Space
Queens Museum
Saturday, February 15
1-5 pm

“The International is a nomadic wanderer, on land and in mind.”
—Nicolas A. Moufarrege, “The Mutant International,” Arts Magazine, September 1983

Bidoun hosts a day devoted to the lost-found work of the Egyptian-born Lebanese artist Nicolas Moufarrege (1947-1985). A wildly prodigious visual artist, writer, and curator, Moufarrege made work that remains at once wry, sophisticated, and exuberant in its pursuit of the “idiosyncratic/universal.”

Contributors will speak to and about the cities in which Moufarrege lived and worked—distinct cosmopolitans enclaves, from 1950s Alexandria to 1960s Beirut, 1970s Paris to 1980s New York. These presentations will offer a lens through which to view Moufarrege’s emblematic engagements with painting and embroidery, graffiti and collage, Pop and the esoteric.

The afternoon begins with a talk by artist Nick Mauss, presented with Visual AIDS, and concludes with a conversation among friends and associates from the five-odd years Moufarrege spent at the epicenter of New York’s East Village art scene.

RSVP

Participants:

Nick Mauss
Hala Halim
Robyn Creswell
Bella Meyer
Alanna Heiss
Carlo McCormick
Sur Rodney (Sur)

Hosts:

Dean Daderko, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; Larissa Harris, Queens Museum; Negar Azimi, Bidoun; Michael C. Vazquez, Bidoun; Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, Bidoun; Esther McGowan, Visual AIDS; Kyle Croft, Visual AIDS; Blake Paskal, Visual AIDS; Lindsey Berfond, Queens Museum

Reza Abdoh: The Blind Owl & Short Films at ICA London

ICA London
Tuesday, July 2 at 6:30 pm
Wednesday, July 3 at 6:30 pm

As part of the exhibition I, I, I, I, I, I, I, Kathy Acker at the ICA London, Bidoun and the ICA present a two-part program of screenings and discussions centered on the moving-image works of theatre director and filmmaker Reza Abdoh (1963–1995).

Working between Los Angeles and New York in the 1980s and early 90s, Abdoh was a contemporary of Kathy Acker at a time of metastasizing moral panic in the US. Both artists’ work share a particular fascination with taboo (sexual, psychological and societal) and abjection.

On July 2nd, a screening of Abdoh’s only completed feature film The Blind Owl is followed by a discussion between scholar Dominic Johnson and artist Ron Athey, moderated by Bidoun Senior Editor Michael C. Vazquez.

On July 3rd, a screening of short film and video works by Abdoh is followed by a discussion between scholars Elizabeth Wiet and Daniel Mufson, moderated by Bidoun Senior Editor Negar Azimi.

Read more about the program on the ICA website.

Book launch: Sophia Al-Maria, Sad Sack; in conversation with Michael C. Vazquez

Sophia Al-Maria, Sad Sack (Book Works, 2019). Photo: Laura Cugusi

e-flux
311 East Broadway
New York, NY 10002
Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 7pm

Join Bidoun Contributing Editor Sophia Al-Maria and Senior Editor Michael C. Vazquez in reading and conversation on the occasion of the publication of Sad Sack (Book Works, 2019), a book of Al-Maria’s collected writing. Taking inspiration from Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1986 essay “The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction” in its nonlinear mode, Sad Sack’s essays encompass, among other things, the author’s fateful coining of the phenomenon known as “Gulf Futurism,” (zigzag) personal essays that offer up the seeds of her “premature” memoir, The Girl Who Fell From Earth, as well as Al-Maria’s experiments in fan-letter fiction – “Dear Tayeb” (Salih), “Dear Kurt” (Cobain), and “Dear Britney (Axis Mundi)” (Spears), among others. New and previously unpublished pieces sit with others originally commissioned by Artforum, Bidoun, e-flux journal, Creative Time Reports, and Serpentine Galleries.

Read Al-Maria’s writings in Bidoun here, as well as her curated collection from our archive, entitled “We are TMI.”

Sophia Al-Maria is an artist and writer living in London. She is contributing editor of Bidoun, and guest editor of The Happy Hypocrite – Fresh Hell, issue 8 (Book Works, 2015). Al-Maria’s memoir, The Girl Who Fell to Earth (Harper Perennial, 2012), was translated into Arabic and published by Bloomsbury Qatar in 2015. In 2016 Al-Maria presented Black Friday, her first US solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and was nominated for Film London’s Jarman Award. In 2018, Al-Maria exhibited ilysm at Project Native Informant, London, and was Whitechapel Gallery’s Writer in Residence — her exhibition BCE (Whitechapel Gallery, January – April 2019), draws on a year of performances and readings presented with Victoria Sin. Forthcoming exhibitions include Tate Britain, London (2019), and Julia Stoschek Collection, Dusseldorf (2020).

The Berlin Sessions: Reza Abdoh, Here and Now

Reza Abdoh and Michael Casselli, 1993. Photo: Thomas Fuesser

The Berlin Sessions:
Reza Abdoh, Here and Now
10 April, 7pm
Venue: Café Oscar
Mitte, Berlin

Who was Reza Abdoh (1963-1995), and how does his “urgent regurgitant mission” speak to European performance today? Daniel Mufson, editor of the Reza Abdoh anthology, and Ehren Fordyce, former professor of directing and contemporary performance at Stanford University, will engage with Abdoh’s challenging, kinetic corpus in the context of contemporary European and American performance, three decades after Iranian-born theater director’s too-early death from AIDS-related causes. Leaning on documentation of Abdoh’s plays, Mufson and Fordyce will discuss the novel confluence of formal approaches and thematic concerns that make Abdoh’s theater distinctive—and distinctly relevant—today.

Reza Abdoh is on view at KW Institute until May 5.

Reza Abdoh at KW Berlin

Twenty-five years after his final European tour, KW Berlin presents an exhibition devoted to the life and work of Reza Abdoh (1963-1995), the late Iranian-born theater director, writer, and artist, whose work spanned theater, film, and video. Abdoh’s earliest productions, mostly staged in Los Angeles, will be presented alongside the dense and intense yet brisk multimedia plays he created after learning he had HIV in the late 1980s, including Bogeyman, The Law of Remains, and Tight Right White.

On the evening of February 11, actors Tom Fitzpatrick, Tom Pearl, and Tony Torn will present readings from Abdoh’s oeuvre at the Volksbühne, followed by a discussion with fellow members of Abdoh’s dar a luz theater company, including Michael Casselli, Sandy Cleary, Brenden Doyle, Raul Enriquez, and Ken Roht, moderated by critic Daniel Mufson.

Reza Abdoh is curated by Negar Azimi, Tiffany Malakooti, and Babak Radboy of Bidoun with Krist Gruijthuijsen. The original iteration of the show was staged at MoMA PS1 this past summer. A comprehensive monograph edited by Azimi, Malakooti, and Michael C. Vazquez is forthcoming.

Publishing as Practice: Bidoun at Ulises

Ulises
31 E Columbia Ave
Philadelphia, PA
November 29, 2018 - July 19, 2019

For the third and final installment of the Publishing as Practice series at Ulises, Bidoun staged a partial version of the infamous Bidoun Library. Founded in 2009, the Bidoun Library is a presentation of printed matter, carefully selected with zero regard for taste or excellence, that documents the innumerable ways that people have depicted and defined — that is, slandered, celebrated, obfuscated, hyperbolized, ventriloquized, photographed, surveyed, and/or exhumed — the vast, vexed, nefarious construct known as “the Middle East.”

In addition to publications, the library had on view a selection of trailers from the little known genre of Iranian-American “B Movies.” Produced mainly in Los Angeles in the years after the revolution, these resolutely un-canonical (and often un-watchable) low budget films feature mainly American casts with a few Iranian actors. They are the direct descendants of filmfarsi, the vernacular B Movie genre that dominated popular Iranian cinema before 1979, and which employed many of the same directors. Much, if not all, was lost in translation. Some of these films were exported to Asia; others have become cult hits among pulp connoisseurs. Seen together, they shape a schizophrenic picture of what these diasporic directors once imagined the formula for a successful Hollywood action film to be.

Reza Abdoh: Radical Visions

Reza Abdoh: Radical Visions
Screening series at The Museum of Modern Art
July 14–23, 2018

A polymath and self-described member of “a TV generation,” pioneering Iranian-American theater artist Reza Abdoh voraciously incorporated varied references to music videos, variety shows, film, dance, classical texts, BDSM, and more into his work, with equal parts poetry and rigor. Moving images played an essential role in the artist’s large-scale, interdisciplinary productions beginning in the mid-1980s. In his final working years he also turned to the cinematic form; his second feature remained unfinished at the time of his 1995 death from AIDS-related complications. In conjunction with the retrospective Reza Abdoh, currently on view at MoMA PS1, this series offers insight into the artist’s profound creative energy—films he directed and videos created collaboratively for productions—along with a recent documentary.

Across disciplines, Abdoh confronted themes of transgression, violence, and abjection to speak to social and political upheaval and marginalization in America and around the world—with a demanding yet transcendent effect on cast members, audiences, and future scholars and followers of his work. While his media output was largely envisioned in the context of theatrical mise en scène, experiencing Abdoh onscreen is vital to the rediscovery of this essential creator, whose urgent anger, clarity of vision, and unique voice resonate two decades on.

Organized by Sophie Cavoulacos, Assistant Curator, Department of Film; with Negar Azimi, Tiffany Malakooti, and Babak Radboy, Bidoun; and Klaus Biesenbach, Director, MoMA PS1, and Chief Curator at Large, The Museum of Modern Art

———

Saturday, July 14, 6:00
The Blind Owl
Introduced by Tony Torn
Repeats Thursday, July 19

Sunday, July 15, 1:30
Reza Abdoh-Theatre Visionary
Introduced by Adam Soch and Sandy Cleary

Sunday, July 15, 4:00
https://www.moma.org/calendar/events/4584
Introduced by Adam Soch
Repeats Sunday, July 22

Wednesday, July 18, 7:30
Peep Show Videos
Reading by Tom Fitzpatrick
Repeats Saturday, July 21

Reza Abdoh

Reza Abdoh
June 3–September 3, 2018
Opening June 3, 12-6pm
Readings by members of Reza’s company, dar a luz, at 5pm

MoMA PS1
22-25 Jackson Ave
Long Island City, NY

When the Iranian-American theater director Reza Abdoh died of AIDS-related complications in 1995 at the young age of 32, he left instructions that his work should never be performed again. In the ensuing decades, his hallucinatory theatre was hardly seen outside a few VHS tapes passed around experimental theatre circles. The exhibition Reza Abdoh: Bogeyman is the first large-scale exhibition devoted to Abdoh’s life and art.

At 5 p.m., to celebrate the opening of Reza Abdoh, four actors from the artist’s original company will reunite in the exhibition galleries to enact selections from Abdoh’s plays. Tom Fitzpatrick, Juliana Francis-Kelly, Jacqueline Gregg, and Tom Pearl will read from Bogeyman (1991), The Law of Remains (1992), Quotations from a Ruined City (1994), as well as from an unrealized treatment of the Faust legend, which Abdoh penned in 1986.

Co-organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Director, MoMA PS1 and Chief Curator at Large, The Museum of Modern Art; and Negar Azimi, Tiffany Malakooti, and Babak Radboy for Bidoun.