Between Perp Walk and Victory Dance

Thoughts on Sex, Money and Color TV

Friday 11 May, 2012
7:30pm, $0

Union Docs
322 Union Avenue, Brooklyn

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ArteEast culminates its Winter/Spring series of talks with a performance-lecture that sheds light on the various realities produced and engendered by journalism and media. In our contemporary moment access to raw source material is often just a few clicks away; whether material is sought online or through camera phone, the way we collect information on our everyday life and reproduce it in art has irrevocably changed. In this performance-lecture, artist Haig Aivazian explores the connection between aesthetics and rhetoric to offer a methodology and a technique for the raw material captured by the media.

Using performance, video, installation and sculpture, Aivazian's work weaves together personal and geo-political, micro and macro narratives as it searches for ideological loopholes and short circuits. The result is a set of elaborate and layered narratives that draw parallels between seemingly unrelated events –between the invisible and the over visualized, the historical and the undocumented— in order to unearth underlying mechanisms of how histories are told.

For his talk at UnionDocs on May 11, 2012, Haig Aivazian will be revisiting the details of the so-called DSK saga as it unfolded in the media over the course of the past year. On May 14, 2011, Guinean Sofitel housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo accused the then president of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss Kahn of France, of forcibly and violently trying to have sex with her. What ensued was a media frenzy, which unraveled through a set of characters, a number of sub-plots and several locations. Aivazian’s findings will serve as a tool to advance alternate and underlying readings of the scandal and how it televises and visualizes the intersections of class, race, gender, sex, money, power and journalism.

 Aivazian will be in conversation with Cheryl Donnegan, moderated by ArteEast Artistic Director Barrak Alzaid

This program is a part of ArteEast's 2012 series "Making the Real: Practices of Documentation." This program is curated by Barrak Alzaid and Mohammad Shawky Hassan and made possible with generous support from UnionDocs, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts.
ArteEast proudly presents this event at Union Docs.

Haig Aivazian is an artist, curator and writer born in Lebanon and currently based in New York City. He has a BFA from Concordia University in Montréal Canada and an MFA from Northwestern University in Chicago, USA. He also attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2011. He has been involved in a number of curatorial initiatives including Roads Were Open /Roads Were Closed at The Third Line gallery in Dubai (2008) and was the Associate Curator of the 10th edition of the Sharjah Biennial in 2011 entitled Plot for a Biennial. Aivazian's work has been shown in France, Canada, the UAE and the United States, and the first installment of his ongoing project entitled FUGERE (A Series of Olympiadic Events) was commissioned and exhibited in the 9th edition of the Sharjah Biennial (2009). Aivazian has written for a number of websites and publications including Bidoun, FUSE, AdBusters,, AMCA, The Arab Studies Journal as well as several exhibition catalogues. He is currently represented by Lombard Freid Projects in New York.

Cheryl Donegan received her B.F.A. in Painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and an M.F.A. at Hunter College in New York. Donegan's work integrates the time-based, gestural forms of performance and video with forms such as painting, drawing, and installation. Direct, irreverent, and infused with an ironic eroticism, Donegan's works put a subversive spin on issues relating to sex, gender, art-making and art history. Using her body as metaphor in her earlier works, Donegan's performative actions before the camera often resulted in or related to process paintings and drawings. More recently, the paintings often lead the video work as Donegan derives abstraction from debased images of consumer objects and spaces. As critic Nick Stillman writes in Art Forum:" Donegan's recent work remains acidic, but it has turned abstract." Her work has been exhibited internationally including at the 1995 Whitney Biennial, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Tang Museum of Art; New York Film and Video Festival; 1993 Venice Biennale; and the Biennale d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, France. Donegan has had one-person shows at Hidde van Seggelen Gallery, London; Galerie VidalCuglietta, Brussels; Oliver Kamm, 5BE gallery, New York; and has had solo exhibitions in Nice, Paris, Berlin, and Milan. She lives in New York with her two sons and husband, writer Kenneth Goldsmith.
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