Artforum: Center Stage

By Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

pieprzak_imagined coverKatarzyna Pieprzak, the author of Imagined Museums: Art and Modernity in Postcolonial Morocco, batted aside some of the more pompous claims made for the biennial by Chan and Samman, and invited everyone “to think more deeply” about the terms of access, dialogue, collaboration, and exchange engendered by the event. After a terrific pair of talks by the curator Rasha Salti (on the abundance of audiovisual material being made by protesters in Syria, including stencils, posters, shadow plays, and videos of demonstrators dancing the dabke in clear view of snipers and tanks) and University of Chicago professor W. J. T. Mitchell (on revolution and counterrevolution in the context of Occupy Wall Street), the Casablanca-based art historian Holiday Powers challenged Berrada to bring the discussion back to Morocco and the yearlong protest movement known as February 20. Given the king’s patronage, she stressed, “This is not a neutral environment.”

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