Single channel HD video, color
Commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary
Over the past few years, Raad has been fascinated by the emergence of new art museums, galleries, schools and cultural foundations in cities such as Abu Dhabi,
Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Istanbul, Sharjah and Doha, among others. He is intrigued by the increased visibility of the makers, sponsors, consumers and histories of Arab art. And he is especially taken aback by the fast-paced development of a new infrastructure for the arts in the Arabian Gulf, an infrastructure that will include the largest-to-date
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum by Frank Gehry, a Louvre Abu Dhabi by Jean Nouvel, a Performing Arts Centre by Zaha Hadid, a maritime museum by Tadao Ando, and a Sheikh Zayed National Museum by Foster and Partners, all on the Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Sharjah’s efforts with its ongoing Biennale and Art Foundation, and Qatar’s Arab Museum of Modern Art as well as its I. M. Pei designed Museum of Islamic Arts are no less ambitious. Such plans clearly attest to the Gulf states’ laudable mandate to showcase local and regional cultures in their full complexity. They also shore up nascent cultural tourism industries, and substantiate the benevolent intentions of the Gulf states’ rulers,
further sanctioning their hereditary rule. In his analysis of this emerging infrastructure, Raad is less interested in the fraught motives that prompt the sheikhs and sheikhas in the Gulf to invest in the arts than he is in screening these material developments through Jalal Toufic’s concept of "the withdrawal of tradition past a surpassing
At the opening of a new museum of modern and/or contemporary Arab art in an Arab city, a proud local resident rushes the entrance only to find that he is unable to proceed. Was it his casual wear at an event announced as a black-tie affair? No. Was it the thugs that shielded the ruling dynasty attending the event en masse to showcase their benevolence and refined sensibilities, pubescent-future-rulers in tow that prevent his access? No. He simply feels that were he to walk in he will certainly "hit a wall." On the spot, he turns to face the rushing crowd and screams: "Stop. Don’t go in. Be careful? Within seconds, he is removed from the site, severely beaten and sent to a psychiatric facility. These events will take place sometime between 2014 and 2024. We will certainly read in newspapers the following day the headline: "Demented Man Disturbs Opening: Claims World Is Flat."
Source: catalogue “Scratching on Things I Could Disavow: A History of Art in the Arab World”, T-B A21, Vienna 2011; page 2ffDisturbs Opening: Claims World Is Flat."
*1967 Chbanieh, Lebanon