There is a Crack in Everything: That’s How the Light Gets in

RaskowitzHumanities Forum
Wednesday, March 4 | 7:00 p.m.
There is a Crack in Everything: That’s How the Light Gets in*
(*from Anthem by Leonard Cohen)
Michael Rakowitz, Professor, Art Theory & Practice, Northwestern University
Performing Arts and Humanities Building, Room 132

Artist Michael Rakowitz discusses his work, in the context of hope and antagonism, and at the intersection of problem solving and trouble-making. Rakowitz’s symbolic interventions in problematic urban situations extend from paraSITE (1998 – ongoing), in which the artist custom builds inflatable shelters for homeless people that attach to the exterior outtake vents of a building’s HVAC system, to Minaret (2001-Ongoing), in which access is gained to an architecturally-appropriate rooftop in a Western city and the Islamic call to prayer is sounded five times a day with the help of a megaphone for amplification. In Spoils (2011) Rakowitz made a culinary intervention at New York City’s Park Avenue restaurant by inviting diners to eat traditional Iraqi dishes on plates looted from Saddam Hussein’s personal collection. The project culminated in the repatriation of the former Iraqi President’s flatware to the Republic of Iraq at the behest of current Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki on December 15, 2011, the date Coalition Forces left Iraq. In a related culinary-art project in Chicago, titled Enemy Kitchen (2012), Rakowitz devised a food truck that was manned by Iraqi War veterans working under Iraqi refugee chefs and served Iraqi cuisine to the public.

Michael Rakowitz is Professor of Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University.  Born in New York  in 1973, Rakowitz is an Iraqi-American conceptual artist who works in a range of media to provoke discourse on contemporary politics. His solo exhibition, The worst condition is to pass under a sword which is not one’s own (2010), was exhibited at the Tate Modern, London. Another project, The Breakup, first presented at Al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem in 2010, was exhibited at Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago in 2014. Rakowitz’s work  is featured in major private and public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Neue Galerie, Kassel, Germany; Smart Museum of Art, Chicago; Van Abbemuseum, Endhoven, Netherlands; British Museum; Kabul National Museum, Afghanistan; and UNESCO, Paris. Rakowitz is the recipient of a six prestigious awards from international foundations, most recently, a 2012 Louis Tiffany Foundation Award.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; the Visual Arts Department; the Center for Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Arts; the Center for Arts, Design and Visual Culture; the American Studies Department; and the Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communications Department.

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