Publications from the AUB Art Galleries

​This is the Time. This is the Record of the Time

Edited by Angela Harutyunyan and Nat Muller
This Is the Time. This Is the Record of the Time is a hybrid anthology of commissioned art and written works on the subject of capturing time and temporality, representing a collaboration between the American University of Beirut Art Galleries and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Nowadays, there is a common perception that time is accelerating. The need to pause, slow down, and regain ground has become a necessity, to grasp our “Runaway World,” as Anthony Giddens aptly terms it. Critically evaluating this precious commodity, time, with thoughts grounded philosophically, historically, and in terms of media theory allows for a more in-depth discussion on the perception of time and how recording it affects its perception and treatment. 

The experience of time is mediated by the technologies that record it. Quoting the introduction, “Thinking about Time: Proposition” by one of the editors, Angela Harutyunyan (p. 23), the book proposes “that to think time and to experience the time of thinking makes oneself out of joint with time or, rather, with the notions of temporality that dominate our epoch.”  ​
  • Concept Note​​
    • Jump out of the plane. 
    • There is no pilot. 
    • You are not alone. 
    • Standby. 
    • This is the time. And this is the record of the time. 
    • This is the time. And this is the record of the time. 
    • (Laurie Anderson, “From the Air”, Big Science, 1982)​
The exhibit from which this book developed was held first in Amsterdam (September 2014) and later in Beirut (March–July 2015) accompanied by a symposium. The book’s intriguing contents will be of interest to artists, curators, art historians, philosophers, and other scholars and students of arts and humanities interested in theoretical and art critical debates on temporality and questions pertaining to time and history.

English, 2016, 164 pages, $26
ISBN 978-9953-586-20-5

Lebanese Painterly Humanism: Georges D. Corm [1896-1971]

Edited by Octavian Esanu 
This is a republication of Georges D. Corm’s 1966 Essai sur l'art et la civilisation de ce temps with Arabic and English translations and additional texts. The book has accompanied the exhibition “Lebanese Painterly Humanism: Georges D. Corm [189601971]” organized at AUB Art Gallery in the fall of 2013.

With the Essai sur l'art et la civilisation de ce temps, Georges D. Corm brings the lasting dispute of artistic tradition versus innovation to Lebanon, allowing it to interfere and resonate even more strongly within a local cultural context sharply divided along conflicting economic, political, ethnic, religious, and cultural interests. Written in the 1960s as humanism was increasingly losing ground to a boldly emerging modernist worldview, the author firmly takes the side of a classical European tradition that he sees as perfect fit for the young state of Lebanon. In the Essai, Corm vehemently condemns the Moderns of his own time – twentieth-century Modernism, – affirming instead his faith in Faith, human dignity, classical beauty, and spiritual perfection.

In addition to the Arabic insert and the original essay published in French, the book also contains Georges G. Corm’s biography of his father, an art critical text by Octavian Esanu, and an extended bibliography.

English (with some Arabic and French), 2013, 144 pages, $25
ISBN 978-9953-586-08-3​

Critical Machines (Exhibition and Conference at AUB Art Galleries)​

Edited by Octavian Esanu 
This publication is dedicated to the 2014 exhibition and conference entitled Critical Machines. For the exhibition, we borrow the metaphor of the “critical machine” from the language of modern labor processes and manufacturing equipment. A “critical machine” is a piece of equipment that is programmed to monitor and report on other machines in the production chain. Critical machines are deployed as preventive maintenance measures to guard against equipment malfunctioning and the disruption of the flow of production. In other words, a critical machine is a robot overseeing other robots. For the exhibition, we extended this metaphor to the contemporary global art world, inviting artists whose work performs a role similar to that of robotic critical machines – artists who address, represent, or comment on not the world at large (as artists have done for centuries), but on the state of the art world itself. The artist as critical machine is the artist as critic, art historian, or reporter, who closely monitors the condition of artistic production, display, and distribution.
For the accompanying symposium, we re-applied the metaphor of the critical machine to look at and discuss the practices by which one monitors and comments on artists, their work, or the art scene as such. Today, art journals, art magazines, newsletters, websites, and blogs are the critical machines that monitor artists and their interactions within the cultural field. These periodicals often serve a gatekeeping function, endorsing and determining what counts as legitimate art, or criticizing and even excluding “foreign bodies,” or experiences and practices that might disrupt and destabilize the established art system. The book presents the artists in the exhibition and the editors of art journals and magazines who participated in the conference.

English (with some Arabic), 2014, 87 pages, $25 
ISBN 978-9953-586-10-6