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Michael Rakowitz Retrospective to Open at MCA Chicago

"Michael Rakowitz's first US museum survey features early works, a new commission, and major installations, such as Enemy Kitchen (2003–ongoing), a pop-up food truck that serves Iraqi dishes made from recipes that Rakowitz and his mother collected through workshops and extensive community liaisons. Also on view are Spoils (2011), a project that saw the artist serve Iraqi date syrup and venison on Saddam Hussein’s very own china, and The invisible enemy should not exist (2007–ongoing), a lifelong project to fabricate at full scale every single item looted from the Iraqi National Museum. The exhibition also includes a portion of Rakowitz’s commission for Documenta 13, What Dust Will Rise? (2012), for which he worked with stone carvers to re-create items from the State Library of Hesse-Kassel that were lost in the 1941 fire of the Fridericianum, using stone quarried from the ruins of sixth-century sandstone Buddhas destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.

The title of the exhibition, Backstroke of the West, is a mistranslation of Revenge of the Sith, which was used for a Chinese bootleg version of the film and likely gleaned from a program such as Google Translate. The title speaks to Rakowitz's interest in translation as a means of traversing social and political boundaries as well as how popular culture can be used to access shared cultural narratives.

Collectively, this exhibition tells a story of restitution and reconstitution and positions Rakowitz as one of the most important artists of our time.

The exhibition is organized by Omar Kholeif, Manilow Senior Curator and Director of Global Initiatives at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. It is presented in the Bergman Family Gallery on the museum’s second floor."

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Frieze Projects 2017: Lucy + Jorge Orta

Lucy + Jorge Orta will participate in the 2017 edition of Frieze Projects, a non-profit program of of new artist commissions at Frieze London with a new installation of Antarctica World Passport Bureau. Curated by Raphael Gygax (Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich), this year's Frieze Projects includes 11 artists and 7 new artworks spanning literature, theater, design and installation, all with a strong performative streak. 

"The Antarctica World Passport Delivery Bureau is a public engagement artwork that invites to visitors to register for the Antarctica World Passport, and become members of the ever-growing Antarctica World community. During exhibitions of the artists’ work, customs officers from around the world distribute facsimile passports to passers-by. With over 50,000 passports now in circulation, the Antarctica World Passport embodies the notion of Operational Aesthetics, as its ambition is to mobilize the citizens of the world to protect the Antarctic, to take action against the disaterous effects of global warming, and to strive for peace.


Photo: Inès Manai

Photo: Inès Manai

Last week to catch Our Labyrinth, a performance piece by Lee Mingwei for the 1st annual MOVE events at Centre Pompidou, Paris, on view from June 2 - 26, 2017! As visitors walk among the galleries, a dancer will sweep a mound of rice through the space, along a labyrinthine path of their choosing. This dancer may encounter obstacles along the way, but will navigate these silently and mindfully. This project is a gift from the performers to the visitors, the providing of a "pure" space, both physically and spiritually, as they explore the sacred space created by the projects.

An artist discussion on the amateur in dance, performance, and contemporary art will take place June 23, at 7PM.


Lee Mingwei (b. 1964, Taiwan) is a participant in this year's 57th Venice Biennale: Viva Arte Viva, curated by Christine Macel. Two of his projects, The Mending Project (2009-ongoing) and When Beauty Visits (2017) are on view in the Arsenale and Giardini, respectively. Lee Mingwei works in relational aesthetics, utilizing performance and participation to interact with an audience, often evoking the ephemerality of daily life or exploring unexpected moments of beauty within the human condition.  Both of these projects explore the relationships formed through interaction, and allow the viewer to generate their connections and conclusions through a personalized experience.