Now at CIA: Shimon Attie's "History of Another" visualizes Structural Violence for NEO

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 11/14/2004 - 02:09.

Rarely have I been as overwhelmed by the visual impact and
intellectual excellence of an art exhibit as I am with the current photography
show at Reinberger Galleries, Cleveland Institute of Art: Shimon Attie: The History of Another: Projections
in Rome from November 10 through December
23, 2004.

Before knowing the concept behind the work, I stood simply awed
by the sheer beauty – bright, large format images, beautifully composed,
uniquely conceived, and serenely presented in the vast gallery. These are works
to study, from near and far, individually and in total.

As I was unfamiliar with the artist and his work, my first
impressions were entirely aesthetic – appreciation for masterful technique and
design… presenting unusual croppings of eerily lit scenes of ruinous Rome. But
there is much more to these images than a travelogue – the artist has projected
black and white images of a painful past directly upon these ruins – he’s
integrated broken hearts into this rubble. The projected images, one learns
from information posted on the gallery walls and the CIA website, are of
impoverished Roman Jews photographed between 1890 and 1920, taken in the near vicinity
of these modern masterpieces. The effect is spectacularly somber.

Right before heading over to see “The History of Another�
at the CIA, I was reading an article on Structural Violence – the actual cause
of our poverty in Northeast Ohio – and suddenly I found myself confronted with
its visualization. As the writes in his statement about this show, “history might not have anything to do with
time, but might be better thought of as a continuous, repetitious loop that
contains both stone ruins and less tangible human ruins.�
From an essay by Deborah DuNann Winter and Dana Leighton, “Structural
violence is almost always invisible, embedded in ubiquitous social structures,
normalized by stable institutions and regular experience. Structural violence
occurs whenever people are disadvantaged by political, legal, economic or
cultural traditions. Because they are longstanding, structural inequities usually
seem ordinary, the way things are and always have been. Structured inequities
produce suffering and death as often as direct violence does, though the damage
is slower, more subtle, more common, and more difficult to repair. Globally,
poverty is correlated with infant mortality, infectious disease, and shortened
lifespans. Whenever people are denied access to societies’ resources, physical
and psychological violence exists.�


I highly recommend everyone view
this important exhibit that captures the invisible realities of Structural
Violence so effectively. And, consider what images of past and present victims of
structural violence should be projected on what ruins here at home. As Mel Chin
pointed out, just a few weeks ago at the CIA Symposium on “Aesthetics and
Consumer Culture�, poverty is a Weapon of Mass Destruction, and the latest
census data shows Cleveland is ground zero.

Let’s learn from the fine art and
contextual enlightenment the CIA and art put before us – project the
structural violence of our ruinous present, reject the weapon of mass
destruction that is our region’s poverty, and seek and spread enlightenment for
a better future. Learn from our fine art in town, for all here, and peace on


Related web resources:

<>CIA Website: Shimon Attie Media Page
CIA Website: Shimon Attie Exhibit Information Page

Columbia College Museum Website about exhibit

About the artist:

Shimon Attie was awarded a Visual Artist Fellowship from
The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York, 1998; A National Endowment for the
Arts, 1997; Visual Artist Fellowship, 1996; National Endowment for the Arts,
1993. His solo exhibits include Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Institute
of Contemporary Art, Boston, Massachusetts; Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo,
Norway; Museum for German History, Berlin; San Francisco Camerawork Gallery,
California. Attie's work is in the permanent collections of The Museum of
Modern Art, New York; International Center for Photography (ICP), New York; Fond
Nationale d'Art Contemporain / FNAC, Paris; Museum of Modern Art-Berlinische
Gallery (Martin-Gropius-Ban), Berlin; and Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. Other
shows include The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Corcoran Gallery of Art,
Washington DC; and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

About the show:

The Reinberger Galleries at The Cleveland Institute of Art
will host Shimon Attie: The History of
Another: Projections in Rome from November
10 through December 23, 2004. The exhibition will be comprised of the
entire series of The History of Another,
consisting of seventeen framed photographs measuring 40-by-50 and 50-by-60
inches along with a selection of photographs of various sizes from previous
projects. Natasha Egan, associate director
of The Museum of Contemporary Photography, curated the traveling exhibition. In
conjunction with the exhibition, the Reinberger Galleries will develop a
community outreach program. Last year over 1,200 public school students in four
weeks attended the gallery education program. We expect to exceed those numbers
this year.

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Nice write up in the Plain De

Nice write up in the Plain Dealer:

If walls could talk

Thursday, November 25,
Steven Litt

Plain Dealer Art Critic

Hubert Robert was an 18th-century French painter who specialized in
scenes of Roman ruins populated by fishmongers, beggars and squatters.
He loved the contrast between the crumbling immensity of the ancient
city and the down-and-out squalor of antlike humans who lived in its

Today, Robert has a kindred spirit in Shimon Attie, a gifted artist
whose work evokes a tension between the grandeur of ancient Rome and
those who once lived amid its ruins and monuments. Attie's luminous
Roman photographs, on view at the Cleveland Institute of Art, are a
jumping-off point for meditations on history and power -- and on cities
as works of art that undergo perpetual cycles of creation, destruction
and rediscovery.

Read the rest of the review at the PD website

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