Godard, Miéville, Hatoum, and Yaqubi at Anthology Film Archives
February 23, 2023
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.
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.
Carnegie Museum of Art
September 24 - April 2, 2023
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.
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.
33 Leonard Street
Thursday, May 19
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.
391 Grand Street
Sunday, November 14, 2021
François Ghebaly, Bidoun, and After 8 Books invite you to the New York launch of Neïl Beloufa’sPeople 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.
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.
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.
Nicolas Moufarrege in Time and Space
Saturday, February 15
“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.
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.
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 Bidounhere, 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
10 April, 7pm
Venue: Café Oscar
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.
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.
31 E Columbia Ave
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
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
June 3–September 3, 2018
Opening June 3, 12-6pm
Readings by members of Reza’s company, dar a luz, at 5pm
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.
We are pleased to announce Fractures, Nicky Nodjoumi’s first solo exhibition at The Third Line gallery in Dubai, curated by Media Farzin for Bidoun.
Nicky Nodjoumi’s paintings explore the emotional dynamics of contemporary politics. The brushwork is quick, loose, and expressive, although the compositions are carefully worked out well in advance. His protagonists are often men in suits — the uniform of authority — painted against spare backgrounds.
His recent work focuses on breaks, ruptures, and the layering of objects and bodies. He uses found photographs to create collages that repeat the same image with small shifts in scale. A selection of his working sketches and collages, drawn from his personal archive, is also on view. In the final work, bodies are crisscrossed by sometimes violent slicing and fractures — vivid traces of a social reality that has caught up with them.
Though he was only thirty-two at the time of his passing, the Iranian-American theater director Reza Abdoh’s (1963-95) mark on the world of theater was unmistakable. Relentlessly inventive, he pushed his actors — and audiences — to their limits amid ambitious, unusual, disorienting stage sets. Abdoh’s aesthetic language borrowed from fairy tales, BDSM, talk shows, raves, video art, and the history of avant-garde theater. This exhibition, the first large-scale retrospective of Abdoh’s work, will highlight the diverse video works that Abdoh produced for his performances and an installation based on his 1991 production Bogeyman. The exhibition also includes contextual materials reflecting the club scenes in both Los Angeles and New York, the culture wars of the Reagan era, and the AIDS crisis. Abdoh died of AIDS in 1995.
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. The exhibition is co-produced with the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, where it will be presented from February 8 to April 29, 2019 and organized in collaboration with Krist Gruijthuijsen, Director.
Reza Abdoh (1963-1995) was a renown Iranian-American director and playwright known for his large-scale, experimental theatre productions. When he died of AIDS in 1995 at the age of 32, he was already one of the most compelling figures in American theater. Plays like Bogeyman, Quotations from a Ruined City, and Tight White Right were known for their hallucinatory dreamscapes, ferocious energy, and sheer sensory overload. Abdoh’s aesthetic language borrowed from BDSM, raves, talk shows, and the history of avant-garde theater. Twenty years after his passing, his company members, collaborators, friends, and family have come together to create a filmic tribute to his theatrical genius.
Directed by Abdoh’s long-time friend and collaborator, filmmaker Adam Soch, this feature-length documentary incorporates rare live performance footage and interviews, providing unprecedented insights into Abdoh’s life and his idiosyncratic creative process. Join the filmmaker and original members of Abdoh’s company, Dar A Luz, for a discussion preceding the screening.
On the occasion of her centenary, an evening in honor of Jane Bowles
A puppet play by Jane Bowles, staged by Nick Mauss, starring Deborah Eisenberg and Lynne Tillman
The writer Jane Bowles passed away too early—in 1973 at the age of 56 after having spent two decades in the Moroccan port city of Tangier. At Tennessee Williams’ urging, The New York Times gave her a proper obituary, quoting John Ashbery: “Few surface literary reputations are as glamorous as the underground one she has enjoyed.” And yet despite her cultish following, she remains unknown to swathes of readers. The occasion of the Library of America’s publication of her collected works offers up a chance to look at her astonishing, antic work anew.
Organized by Bidoun with Negar Azimi, Pati Hertling, Tiffany Malakooti, and Lynne Tillman.
Copies of Jane Bowles: Collected Writings (Library of America, 2017), edited by Millicent Dillon, will be available in the bookshop.
Monday, January 23, 2017, 7pm
Artists Space Books & Talks
55 Walker Street, New York