Lebanese artist Walid Raad is an influential voice in art from the Middle East. Published for his first comprehensive exhibition in the US, this catalogue surveys three decades of Raad's practice in photography, video and performance.
Beginning with his groundbreaking project The Atlas Group (1989-2004), to his recent work on the history of art in the Arab world (2007-ongoing), it offers an overview of Raad's career and features his most momentous bodies of work. Raad explores the ways we represent war and history, casting doubt on the veracity of photographic and video documentation.
Essays by scholars place Raad's art in the context of contemporary photography and video, as well as art made in Lebanon since the 1960s; provide an overview of Raad's performance lectures; and examine Raad's most recent bodies of work made in the Islamic galleries at the Louvre and Metropolitan Museum of Art, which explore the history, collecting and display of historical and modern art and artifacts from the Arab world and Iran. A special contribution by Raad presents a fictional interview with multiple artists, curators and writers.
Walid Raad was born in 1967 in Chbanieh, Lebanon, and moved to Beirut as a child. In 1983, at age 16, Raad left Lebanon for the US. He enrolled at the Rochester Institute of Technology to study photography, and earned his PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester. Raad currently lives in New York and Beirut, and has been an Associate Professor of Art at The Cooper Union since 2002.
What is a photographic image? Can a photograph ever tell the truth? These are some of the questions artist Walid Raad (born 1967) has been investigating for the past 20 years, in a practice that encompasses photography, film and video, sculpture, installation and performance. This publication brings together three major bodies of work: the photographic and video works produced under the fictional collective name The Atlas Group; various series of seemingly "straight" photography of his native Beirut titled Sweet Talk: Commissions (Beirut); and his most recent project, Scratching on Things I Could Disavow: A History of Art in the Arab World. The publication includes an exchange between the artist and curator Achim Borchardt-Hume; an essay on conceptions of truth by poet and writer Alan Gilbert; a text on Raad's use of photography and its ties to Beirut by Blake Stimson; and an essay by Hélène Chouteau-Matikian.