MoMA PS1 To Present Major Group Exhibition Exploring The Artistic Legacy Of American Military Engagement In Iraq

MoMA PS1 will present a large-scale group exhibition examining the legacies of American-led military engagement in Iraq beginning with the Gulf War in 1991. Through more than 250 works, the exhibition explores the effects of these wars on artists based in Iraq and its diasporas, as well as those responding to the war from the West. Featuring the work of over 75 artists including Afifa Aleiby, Dia Azzawi, Thuraya al-Baqsami, Paul Chan, Harun Farocki, Tarek Al-Ghoussein, Guerrilla Girls, Thomas Hirschhorn, Hiwa K, Hanaa Malallah, Monira Al Qadiri, Nuha al-Radi, and Ala Younis, Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991–2011 will be on view across the entire MoMA PS1 building from November 3, 2019 through March 1, 2020.

Sue Coe. Bomb Shelter. 1991. Photo-etching on white heavyweight Rives, 9 5/8 × 10 1/2″ (24.4 × 26.7 cm). Courtesy Galerie St. Etienne, New York. Copyright © 1990 Sue Coe
Dia al-Azzawi. War Diary No. 1. 1991. Gouache and charcoal on paper, 28 pages, 12 5/8 x 9 1/2” (32 x 24 cm). Courtesy the artist
Harun Farocki. War at a Distance. 2003. Video (color, sound). 58 min. The Museum of Modern Art. Committee on Film Funds. © 2019 Harun Farocki Filmproduktion

While brief, the 1991 Gulf War marked the start of a lengthy period of military involvement with Iraq that led to more than a decade of sanctions and the 2003 Iraq War. The invasion in 2003 galvanized a broader international response, prompting anti-war protests around the globe. Though the Iraq War officially ended in 2011, artists have continued to explore these conflicts and their ongoing impacts. The works in Theater of Operations reveal how this period was defined by unsettling intersections of spectacularized violence, xenophobia, oil dependency, and new imperialisms.

Michel Auder. Gulf War TV War (still). 1991 (Edited 2017). Hi8 video and mini-DV transferred to digital video. 102 min. Courtesy the artist and Martos Gallery, New York
Guerrilla Girls. Estrogen Bomb. 2003–2017. Poster. 24 × 24″ (61 × 61 cm). Courtesy the artists

In conjunction with Theater of Operations, MoMA PS1 is publishing a catalog with contributions by Zainab Bahrani, Rijin Sahakian, Nada Shabout, McKenzie Wark, and the exhibition curators, addressing art historical and political subjects relating to the exhibition.

Monira Al Qadiri. Behind the Sun. 2013. Video (color, sound). 10 min. Courtesy the artist

Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991–2011 is organized by Peter Eleey, Chief Curator, and Ruba Katrib, Curator, MoMA PS1.

Afifa Aleiby. Gulf War. 1991. Oil on canvas, 39 3/8 x 27 1/2” (100 x 70 cm). Courtesy the artist

Major support for Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991–2011 is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Generous funding is provided by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art. Additional support is provided by the MoMA PS1 Annual Exhibition Fund.

Himat M. Ali. Al Mutanabbi Street Baghdad. 2007 Mixed media on paper;12 bound books in wooden slipcase, Each: 13 3/8 × 9 13/16″ (34 × 25 cm). Courtesy the artist and Azzawi Collection, London. Photo: Anthony Dawton

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