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NAEEM MOHAIEMEN:
The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Information About the Event

On View

Buchwald-Wright Gallery, Free Admission

Artists

Naeem Mohaiemen

Acknowledgements

The Gund programs and exhibitions are made possible, in part, by The Gund Board of Directors and the Ohio Arts Council.

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Light at the End of the Tunnel showcases two recent works by New York-based artist, Naeem Mohaiemen. Created during the Covid-19 pandemic, "Wooster Street" and "Karen’s Last Books (Ibsen to Nguyen)" express how two women adapted to uncertain times—one, an artist in New York reflecting on her radical art community of the seventies, and the other, an educator in Maine facing the end of her life. Mohaiemen explores the relational aspects of oral history, investigating how collective and personal memories endure and influence when shared.

Although developed independently, "Wooster Street'' and “Karen’s Last Books (Ibsen to Nguyen)” serve as tributes recounting the creative and social lives of Judith Blum Reddy and Karen Wentworth. Reddy, an artist trained in New York and Paris, is one of the few remaining residents of Soho artist-run coops. Wentworth, a self-taught photographer from Maine, used the state’s 2019 Death with Dignity Act. Both turn to art to document their life journeys.

In “Wooster Street,” memories of New York’s Fluxus and Soho art scene intertwine with irreverent memories of art pioneers Ana Mendieta, Jonas Mekas, and George Maciunus. In “Karen’s Last Books,” Mohaiemen notes Wentworth's effort to finish reading ten books before her death through line drawings, book excerpts, and an interview. Both projects highlight the artist's role as a critical thinker, connector, and investigator, revisiting social histories and cultural stigmas.

Mohaiemen's presentation explores themes from his recent projects, navigating experiences of isolation, migration, and death. The works delve into connectivity and interdependence during social change and crisis, exploring social dynamics from family structures to communities. Ultimately, they highlight the resilience of survivors from an earlier world crisis through creative pursuits.

Mohaiemen combines film, photography, drawings, and essays to research utopia-dystopia slippage in the Muslim world post-1945. Born in 1969 in London, UK, and raised in Tripoli, Libya, and Dhaka, Bangladesh, he is currently an Associate Professor of Visual Arts and Head of Photography Concentration at Columbia University, New York. His work explores chosen families, malleable borders, and political utopias, interested in transnational narratives that create new futures beyond race, religion, and nation categories.

Mohaiemen’s work has recently been exhibited at documenta 14, (2017), Yokohama Triennale (2020), and Gwangju Biennale (2023). He is represented by Experimenter Gallery (India) and his work is in the permanent collection of Samdani Art Foundation (Dhaka), Kiran Nadar Museum (Delhi), Sharjah Art Foundation (Sharjah), Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoeven), MACBA (Barcelona), Museum of Modern Art (New York), and Tate Modern (London). Mohaiemen is author of Midnight’s Third Child (Nokta, 2023) and Prisoners of Shothik Itihash (Kunsthalle Basel, 2014), and co-editor (with Eszter Szakacs) of Solidarity Must be Defended (Tranzit, 2023). He was a Guggenheim Fellow (2014) and was a finalist for Britain’s Turner Prize (2018). Art Review magazine’s annual “Power 100” list of practitioners’ impact on contemporary art discourse included him in the 2023 rankings.

We are pleased to host Naeem Mohaiemen for a curated screening program and a conversation about his recent work from February 8-9, 2024. More information to come.

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Installation view of "Wooster Street," The Gund. Image by Luke Stettner.

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Installation view of Karen's Last Books, The Gund. Image by Luke Stettner.