A still from Lamia Joreige's video installation "Objects of War"
Egypt's street artists, with their in-your-face approach, aim for an immediate public response. Other Arab artists are more conceptual about their art projects, referring to current events obliquely. "Here and Elsewhere," on view at the New Museum, at 235 Bowery, Lower East Side, from July 16 though Sept. 28, features 45 artists from Ammam, Beirut, Cairo, Dubai, Ramallah and Sharjah, among other cities. "There are artists looking at conflict and wars, but we did not want to restrict this to the Arab Spring," said Massimiliano Gioni, the museum's associated director, who worked with a team of curators. "This is not a show in which the artists are forced to illustrate historic changes."
Inspired by the 1976 film “Ici et Ailleurs,” by the French directors Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin, and Anne-Marie Miéville, a meditation on the ethics of filming the Palestinian struggle, this exhibition is preoccupied with whether images can tell the truth, “particularly when you have an overexposure through media or a simplification due to media,” Mr. Gioni said. “Perhaps the role of the artist is to make the narrative of history much more complex.”
LAMIA JOREIGE This Lebanese artist and filmmaker demonstrates how difficult it sometimes is to distinguish fact from fiction. Her video installation “Objects of War” brings together interviews with ordinary citizens and the personal objects that evoke memories of the successive wars in Lebanon. “These testimonials, while helping to create a collective memory, also show the impossibility of telling a single history of this war,” she said.