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Weekly Watchlist: Augmenting Facts through Reimagined History

Michael Rakowitz awakens ghosts to haunt Western institutions

Our first season of film programming for 2021 concludes today with “Michael Rakowitz: Haunting the West,” the last in a group of four new films.

Drawing upon his Iraqi-Jewish heritage, Michael Rakowitz explores ways to subvert the imperialist role of museums, interrogate the value they place on objects over people, and create ongoing systems for repair and accountability.

Using the packaging of Middle Eastern food goods as papier mâché, Rakowitz extends an ongoing series of sculptures and reliefs that act as “ghosts” of lost, looted, or otherwise destroyed ancient artifacts.

“If a ghost is going to properly haunt,” says the artist, “it has to appear differently than the entity appeared when it was living.”

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Michael Rakowitz

February 17, 2021

Hyperallergic readers were treated with an exclusive first look at our latest film ahead of today’s premiere. Read last week’s preview written by Dan Schindel, Associate Editor for Documentary at Hyperallergic.

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12 artists who balance fact and fiction in reimagining history

El Anatsui installs work at Davis Museum, Wellesley, MA, 2011. Production still from the Art in the Twenty-First Century episode, “Change.” © Art21, Inc. 2012.

Hindsight augments reflections on history, adding flourishes of context as to how societies have responded to moments in time. A greater sense of insight lends itself to harnessing control over the retelling of any given history, leaning further into truth or branching off into fictional realms and alternate realities.

The artists in our History Reimagined playlist strike a balance between fact and fiction in their reimagining of historical moments, reinterpreting the past in the interest of finding clarity for the present and beyond.

Watch the playlist.

Four new stories of artists confronting global crises

Our first season of new programming for 2021 concludes today with the last of four new films from our celebrated Extended Play and New York Close Up series.

Four artists—Firelei Báez, Abigail DeVille, Shaun Leonardo, and Michael Rakowitz—confront social, political, and institutional crises impacting cultures around the world, collectively capturing a portrait of contemporary history in the making, connecting personal and global experiences that play out across generations.

See the film guide.

Upcoming workshops for educators

Art and Health, taking place online on Tuesday, February 23 at 6:00 p.m. ET, is an intersectional workshop designed to explore contemporary works created in direct response to health disparities during this time of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the Movement for Black Lives. Registration is free, but space is limited.

Visit our education calendar for a list of upcoming workshops for educators.

Thank you for supporting our work

More than ever, online access to the lives and stories of artists is crucial, and Art21 is proud to share them with an ever-growing number of visitors including students, teachers, parents, and art enthusiasts alike from around the globe. If you are able at this time, please consider supporting the work of Art21. Every dollar makes a difference.