Enjoy a special opportunity to hear from the artist of our newest installation. During this talk, Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal discusses his most recent project, 168:01 , and elaborates on the evolution of his work, reflecting on his personal narrative and experiences living in both the conflict zone of Iraq and the comfort zone of the United States.
Wafaa Bilal’s dynamic, participatory artistic practice blends technology and performance to engage viewers in dialogue. The controversial aspects of his work spark deeper conversation, posing questions about political and personal realities. His work places him in the role of artist as platform initiator, helping to shift and change distribution channels in the media.
Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal, an Associate Arts Professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, is known internationally for his online performative and interactive works provoking dialogue about international politics and internal dynamics. For his 2007 installation Domestic Tension, Bilal spent a month in a Chicago gallery with a paintball gun that people could shoot at him over the internet. The Chicago Tribune called it “one of the sharpest works of political art to be seen in a long time” and named him 2008 Artist of the Year. Bilal’s work is constantly informed by the experience of fleeing his homeland and existing simultaneously in two worlds – his home in the “comfort zone” of the U.S. and his consciousness of the “conflict zone” in Iraq. Using his own body as a medium, Bilal continued to challenge our comfort zone with projects like 3rdi and …and Counting. Bilal’s most recent body of work, Canto III, premiered in a solo booth at the New York Armory Show in 2015 and went on to be shown in the 2015 Venice Biennale. In 2008, City Lights published Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun, about Bilal’s life and the Domestic Tension project. He holds a BFA from the University of New Mexico and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, and the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, among others.