Akram Zaatari. On Photography, People and Modern Times. 2010. Two-channel synchronized HD projection (color, sound), 38:43 min. Installation view of Projects 100: Akram Zaatari. 2013. Photo by John Wronn. © The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

In photography, film, video, and installation, Beirut-based artist Akram Zaatari (Lebanese, born 1966) has built a complex body of work that explores the state of image-making today. Zaatari was a founder of the Arab Image Foundation, established in 1997, which collects and preserves photographs from the Middle East and North Africa. Similarly, in his own work he collects, examines, and recontextualizes documents—from found audiotapes to family photographs to YouTube videos—that testify to the cultural and political conditions in Lebanon (and its regional cultural context), investigating the ways these artifacts straddle or conflate notions of history and memory.

Projects 100: Akram Zaatari is the North American premiere of two of Zaatari’s video installations. Composed of videos made by Arab youth that the artist found on YouTube, Dance to the End of Love (2011) examines the role of social media as a space that is both intimate and public. On Photography, People and Modern Times (2010) tracks photographic records that Zaatari researched and collected for the Arab Image Foundation in its early years (1998–2000); it is a meditation on the intimate past moments evoked by photographs and an environment that secures their preservation. Cutting across temporal and geographic borders, these two works probe the nature of human relationships and assert the permeability of memory.

This exhibition is organized by Ana Janevski, Associate Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, and Eva Respini, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, with Katerina Stathopoulou, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Photography.

The Elaine Dannheisser Projects Series is made possible in part by the Elaine Dannheisser Foundation and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art.

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