Speak Memory Symposium 3 - Kristine Khouri, The History of Arab Modernities in the Visual Arts Study Group
Duration: 00:24:37; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 21.820; Saturation: 0.047; Lightness: 0.156; Volume: 0.216; Cuts per Minute: 0.934
Summary: Kristine Khouri - 'The History of Arab Modernities in the Visual Arts Study Group': The Beginning.
Kristine Genevive Khouri is a researcher in art history based in Beirut focusing on the modern period in the Middle East. She received her BA in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago in 2007 with a minor in Art History. A recipient of the Fulbright fellowship (2007-2008), she spent a year in Amman, Jordan investigating visual art practice and production, looking specifically at institutions and structures surrounding art production and exhibition. She spent a year doing research with Walid Raad for his current project, "Scratching on Things You Could Disavow: A History of Modern and Contemporary Arab Art." She has contributed as a writer and photographer and has written for several magazine and newspaper publications in the region and also serves as the program director for Gen70, an artist portfolio project for ArteEast.
The History of Arab Modernities in the Visual Arts Study Group is a long-term research project, initiated in 2008, whose mission is to investigate key questions in the history and historiography of modern art in the Arab world. The founding members are Kristine Khouri and Rasha Salti, both based in Beirut, and includes a growing network of contributing individuals. The project is independent and aims to propose a space for experimentation in methodologies and archival practice.
As a more serious scholarly interest in modern and contemporary art from the Arab world has emerged in the past few years, the status of the field's scattered historiography as well as the scarcity of primary sources has proven restrictive to scholars, researchers, historians, and curators. This recently developing field beckons a serious investigation of the past and its guiding paradigms. In its core, the mission of this research project proposes a rethinking of the historiography of modern Arab art. Existing works (in English, Arabic and French), have almost systematically ignored a political-social-historical approach and interpretive framework, and have been almost exclusively biased towards artists' narratives. They do not answer how the paradigm of the modern permeated the various realms of society and came to prevail, or how modernity conjugated with ideologies salient at the time nor do they explain how the postmodern turn came about.
The Study Group proposes this exploration through conducting and recording dialogues with seminal protagonists in the field of modern and contemporary art, such as established art critics, gallerists, curators, museum directors, and collectors, whose experiences have not been collected or recorded in books who were mostly active during the 1950s-1970s in the region and through unearthing archives. The project also includes investigating and reconstructing major events: international and regional exhibitions, biennials, and festivals deemed as milestones in the region.
The paucity of primary sources is a sad fact and the Study Group's approach will produce valuable material for further research. Thus one of its central goals will be to publish interviews, primary source material and findings as widely as possible through the creation of a digitally-based and publicly accessible bilingual primary source for research in art and visual culture for the region, comprised of video, sound and image-- documentation of the interviews, documents, and other material. In addition to gathering and presenting material, the Study Group aims to build a network of researchers to share material and develop their projects, and consider a comparative approach for similar projects, both regional and international, through seminars and workshops.