American University of Beirut

Contemporary Artistic Revolutions: An Institutional Perspective

February 28 - July 15, 2017
AUB Byblos Bank Art Gallery, Ada Dodge Hall​

Over the past years art historians, critics, artists and philosophers have more frequently than ever posed the question of what is, or was, contemporary art. The question has been most urgently posed in a recent series of books by Western academic publishers, special issues of art periodicals, or conference proceedings organized by leading art institutions. The “contemporary,” “contemporary art,” and “contemporaneity” have been considered from multiple perspectives: as categories of art historical periodization (or resistance and refusal to periodize); as modes of articulation of temporality (or the impossibility of doing so); as manifestations of political, economic and ideological contradictions of late capitalism (or a desire to repress the political); as symptoms of the multiple diseases of globalization and of rising economic inequality (or an affirmative embrace of the “global village” at whatever cost); as part of the lasting Western narrative of “progress,” or more recently of “transition to democracy,” bestowable upon an Other (or as critiqued in the context of local post-colonial or post-socialist histories).

This year AUB Art Galleries joins these debates and brings a different approach and perspective to the theme. First of all, we would like simultaneously to translate recent dialogues surrounding contemporary art into the format of an art exhibition, an academic conference, and a publication; secondly, we are seeking ways to emphasize the problematic of the contemporary by drawing attention to debates over “what is” or “was” contemporary art as they unfolded in “non-Western” parts of the world. For this event – which we have titled: Contemporary Artistic Revolutions: An Institutional Perspective – we invited artists, scholars, and art historians to share with us their research on the emergence of the co-called “contemporary paradigm” within their respective artistic milieux. We are looking into the earliest art events and those forces that locally affirmed the contemporary as a new mode of artistic production.

Octavian Esanu
Curator, AUB Art Galleries

Artists in the Exhibition

Gordana Anđelić-Galić (Bosnia and Herzegovina); Ahmed Badri (Egypt); Amal Bohsali (Lebanon); Alexander Brener (Russia); Delve Institute (Croatia); Arman Grigoryan and The 3rd Floor Movement (Armenia); Abhishek Hazra (India); IRWIN (Slovenia); Želimir Koščević (ex-Yugoslavia); NK (Slovenia); Shady El-Noshokaty (Egypt); Eduardo Paolozzi (UK); Mark Verlan (Moldova); Walid Sadek (Lebanon); Janja Žvegelj (Slovenia)

Participants in the Conference (March 1-2) and Publication

Ivana Bago (Duke University; Delve – Institute for Duration, Location and Variables);
Lucy Bayley (Middlesex University and the Institute of Contemporary Arts); Barbara Borčić (SCCA-Ljubljana); Natasha Gasparian (American University of Beirut); Sabih Ahmed (Asia Art Archive) and Nida Ghouse (Mumbai Art Room); Octavian Eșanu (American University of Beirut); Angela Haru​tyunyan (American University of Beirut); Tevž Logar and Vladimir Vidmar (Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia); Kristóf Nagy (Artpool Art Research Center – Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest); Dina Aboul Fotouh (Home Workspace Program Ashkal Alwan); Peter Osborne (Kingston University London); Amila Puzić (University “Džemal Bijedić” in Mostar); Miško Šuvaković (Faculty for Media and Communications, Belgrade); Shady El-Noshokaty (Egypt)​

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