Curator Conversation: History Is Not Here

Fri., Sept. 13, 6 p.m.
Admission is free * RSVP requested
Minnesota Museum of American Art

Join us for a discussion between Heba Y. Amin and Maymanah Farhat, curators of History Is Not Here: Art and the Arab Imaginary, moderated by the M’s recently appointed Curator of Exhibitions, Laura Wertheim Joseph. Amin and Farhat will elaborate on the curatorial themes behind Mizna’s 20th anniversary retrospective exhibition, expanding on the term “Arab imaginary” as a strategy for examining various social, cultural, and political positions, while touching on the process of conceiving the show. This event is free but space is limited; RSVPs are requested.

About the exhibition: History Is Not Here: Art and the Arab Imaginary presents the work of artists who address what can be termed the “Arab imaginary” as a strategy for examining various social, cultural, and political positions. Best understood through a framework that recognizes the so-called Arab world and its diaspora as multiform, made up of 22 countries with distinct histories as well as diverse ethnicities, languages, and religions, this exhibition explores and scrutinizes the ways in which the region has been historicized. Through painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, book art, installation, and video, featured artists make connections between contemporary geopolitics and the histories that inform them. Their works draw attention to the challenges of representation, including misunderstandings and missteps, and the limiting and problematic terms that are often used to define the region. History Is Not Here rejects the idea of history as a fixed category and looks to alternative imagery and approaches from which new “imaginaries” can be generated.

On view: September 12, 2019 – January 5, 2020

About the Curators:

Egyptian artist and scholar Heba Y. Amin currently teaches at Bard College Berlin, is a doctorate fellow in art history at Freie Universität, and a current Field of Vision fellow in NYC. She is also the co-founder of the Black Athena Collective, the curator of visual art for the MIZNA journal (US), and co-curator for the biennial residency program DEFAULT with Ramdom Association (IT).  Amin has had recent exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Bremen Böttcherstrasse Prize Exhibition, MAXXI Museum, 10th Berlin Biennale, 15th Istanbul Biennale, Kunsthalle Wien, the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, 12th Dak’Art Biennale, Berlin Berlinale, and the IV Moscow International Biennale for Young Art. She also has an extensive repertoire in public speaking. Furthermore, Amin is also one of the artists behind the subversive graffiti action on the set of the television series “Homeland” which received worldwide media attention. Amin lives in Berlin.

Maymanah Farhat’s art historical research and curatorial work focuses on underrepresented artists and forgotten art scenes. Since 2005, she has written widely on twentieth and twenty-first century art, contributing essays and chapters to edited volumes, artist monographs, and museum and gallery catalogues. Farhat has also been invited to write for such publications as Art Journal, Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters, Vogue Arabia, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Art + Auction, and Apollo. She has presented her research at New York University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Law School, the University of Amsterdam, and Università Ca’ Foscari, Venice, Italy, among other institutions. Farhat has curated exhibitions throughout the U.S. and abroad, notably at the Center for Book Arts in Manhattan, Arab American National Museum, Virginia Commonwealth University Gallery in Doha, Qatar, Art Dubai, and Beirut Exhibition Center. In 2014, she was included among Foreign Policy’s annual list of 100 Leading Global Thinkers in recognition of her scholarship on Syrian art after the uprising.

Laura Wertheim Joseph is the M’s new Curator of Exhibitions. Before coming to the M, she worked to advance recognition and opportunities for artists challenging perceptions of disability as Gallery Director at Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts. Laura has organized numerous exhibitions and is currently curating Harriet Bart: Abracadabra and Other Forms of Protection for the Weisman Art Museum. She is the editor of forthcoming catalog of the same name. Other recent, nationally recognized curatorial projects include Testify: Americana from Slavery to the Present (Hennepin County Library) and A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde (Mary and Leigh Block Museum). She has written and lectured widely on contemporary art. She was the lead researcher for Covered in Time and History: The Films of Ana Mendieta (Katherine E. Nash Gallery/University of California Press). Laura received her PhD from the University of Minnesota, where she specialized in contemporary art and critical theory with a focus on feminism, gender, and performance studies, as well as theories of affect, embodiment, and materiality. She also holds a master’s degree in arts and cultural management from Saint Mary’s University.