The Bidoun Library Project, organized by the magazine Bidoun: Arts and Culture From the Middle East, at the New Museum, is a highly partial account of five decades ofprintedmatterin,near,about, and around the Middle East. Arrayed along these shelves are pulp fictions and propaganda, monographs and guidebooks, and pamphlets and periodicals, on subjects ranging from the oil boom to the Dubai bust, the Cold War to the hot pant, Pan-Arabs to Black Muslims, revolutionaries to royals, and Orientalism to its opposites.
For its North American debut, the Bidoun Library turns the page on the twentieth century: more specifically, the period after the Second World War, set against the context of the Cold War, when the Middle East as we know it came into its own. It was the heyday of the printed page, perhaps the last period in which the predominant forms of the written word were the book, the newspaper, and the periodical magazine. Looking back, the printed matter of the last century appears increasingly opaque as it recedes further and further from active circulation. A library, then, is entropy.
The motif of the exhibition is the object of the book—the book as object of material production, and the book as a vector for material objectives… (download the .pdf brochure)
Until September 26, 2010
New Museum, New York