Local Address: Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, Lebanon
In Beirut: Art, Education, Institutions, Politics


Thursday, March 16, 2017, from 6:30 – 8 pm
CP Projects Space
132 West 21st Street, 10th floor, New York, NY 10011


Free and open to the public.


The MA Curatorial Practice program at SVA is pleased to present In Beirut: Art, Education, Institutions, Politics. One of the world’s most forward-looking independent arts organizations is Beirut’s Ashkal Alwan, dedicated to facilitating cultural production in Lebanon and the Arab region. Co-founded in 1994 by Christine Tohmé and a group of artists, Ashkal Alwan introduced Home Works: A Forum on Cultural Practices in 2002, which takes place every two to three years, launching exhibitions, commissions, special projects, panels, talks, screenings, workshops and publications that encompass the visual arts, theater, dance and music, as well as broader cultural, theoretical and political concerns. In 2011 the Home Workspace Program was initiated as a ten-month, non-degree granting program organized around seminars, workshops, critiques and open studios. Dynamic and innovative, its ten-month sessions consider topics related to artistic production, geopolitics, and the educational landscape.


The panel includes Ghalya Saadawi, writer, educator, and program head of Home Workspace Program in Beirut; Mirene Arsanios, Beirut-born and New York-based writer and co-editor with Saadawi and Iman Mersal of Makhzin, a bi-lingual literary magazine; and New York-based Gregory Sholette, artist, writer, educator and activist, who is associate professor of art at Queens College and has served as a curriculum committee member for the Home Workspace program.


On this special occasion, the panelists will discuss the political context of post-civil war Beirut and Lebanon, and what has been enabled and disenabled artistically and structurally. The broader politics of art education, global turns in art, institutionalization, and the production of contemporary art and artists will be targets of the conversation, particularly with the model of the Home Workspace Program and Ashkal Alwan in mind.



Ghalya Saadawi is a writer and educator living in Beirut. She lectures in the Fine Arts and Art History department of the American University of Beirut and the graduate program on art criticism and the curatorial in the French Literature department at the University of St. Joseph, Beirut. Her recent doctoral thesis in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, was titled Rethinking the Witness: Art after the Lebanese Wars. She is currently Resident Professor and program head of Ashkal Alwan’s Home Workspace Program and is involved with The Beirut Institute for Critical Analysis and Research. Her writings have appeared in Bidoun, Bidayat, Frieze, Third Text, e-flux journal, Jadaliyya and Wiley: Blackwell Companion to Historical Documentary (forthcoming), among other publications and artist monographs. She is author of a walking tour in Beirut, After the Future Heritage Redux 2080, and is co-editor with writer Mirene Arsanios and poet Iman Mersal of Makhzin, a bi-lingual literary magazine.


Mirene Arsanios, a native of Beirut, is the author of The City Outside the Sentence (Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, 2015). Her writings have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, The Rumpus, The Animated Reader, and The Outpost, among others. She is the co-founder of the research collective 98weeks in Beirut and the founding editor of Makhzin. Arsanios was a recipient of the Enizagam fiction prize (2014) and was a Forum Fellow, Art Dubai (2015). She has been an artist-in-residence at the CCA, Warsaw, Poland (2015) and at the Villa Romana, Florence, Italy (2012). She holds an MFA in Writing from Bard College and an MA in Art Theory from Goldsmiths, University of London. She currently lives in New York City, where she was a 2016 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace resident.​


Gregory Sholette is a founding member of Political Art Documentation/Distribution, which issued publications on politically engaged art in the 1980s; of REPOhistory, which repossessed suppressed histories in New York in the 1990s; and more recently, of Gulf Labor, a group of artists advocating for migrant workers constructing museums in Abu Dhabi. His recent art exhibitions and installations include a suite of drawings about activist struggle entitled Darker for Station Independent Projects, NYC (2017), Imaginary Archive at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania and the White Box at Zeppelin University, Germany (both 2015) and his collaborative performance piece Precarious Workers Pageant, which premiered in Venice (2015). He has contributed to such journals as FIELD, e-flux journal, Critical Inquiry, Texte zur Kunst, October, CAA Art Journal and Manifesta Journal, among others. His books include Delirium & Resistance: Art Activism & the Crisis of Capitalism (forthcoming with a preface by Lucy R. Lippard, Pluto Press, 2017); Merciless Aesthetic/Nemilosrdna estetika (WHW, Croatia, 2016); and Dark Matter: Art and Politics in an Age of Enterprise Culture (Pluto Press, 2011). Sholette is a graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program in Critical Theory, an Associate of the Art, Design and the Public Domain program at the Graduate School of Design Harvard University, served as a Curriculum Committee member of Home Workspace Program, Beirut, and is an Associate Professor in the Queens College Art Department, City University of New York. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.