Beautiful Agitation: Modern Painting and Politics in Syria
In her study of Arab modernism, Anneka Lenssen (History of Art) explores how artists in Syria developed strikingly new kinds of painting as a means to agitate against the imposed identities and intersubjective relations that accompanied the making of Syria as a contested territory. Employing the mutability of form, painters attempted to rethink relationships of figure to ground, outward appearance to inner presence, and self to world. Beautiful Agitation: Modern Painting and Politics in Syria (UC Press, 2020) reveals new trajectories of painterly practice in a twentieth century defined by shifting media technologies, moving populations, and the imposition of violently enforced nation-state borders.
Lenssen is joined by Julia Bryan-Wilson (History of Art). After a brief discussion, they respond to questions from the audience.