Queer-y-ing the Arab

When 19 Mar 2021 - 15 May 2021
Where apexart
291 Church Street
New York, NY 10013
United States

Curated by the Earl of Bushwick
Virtual Opening and Tour: March 18, 2021 6 pm RSVP Here.

On view online starting March 18

On view at apexart:
March 19 – May 15, 2021
Tues. – Sat. 1 – 6pm

3D Online and at 291 Church Street, NYC*

Artists:Jamil Hellu
Aghiles Mana
Queer Habibi
Rima Najdi
The Earl of Bushwick
Elias Wakeem

In the bath-house, the mysteries hidden by trousers / Are revealed to you. / All becomes radiantly manifest. / Feast your eyes without restraint!

- Abu Nuwas

Arab culture has long contained expressions of queerness—both in its non-conformity with Western cultural traditions, and in its occasional openness to homosexuality. Abu Nuwas explored gay themes in his 9th century poems, which feel contemporary in their celebration of gay lust and desire.

The last two centuries, however, have witnessed the suppression of queerness in Arab culture, with restrictions on homosexuality and emphasis on conservative social norms emerging primarily with European colonization and later on with the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. Yet Arab queerness and countercultures live on in myriad forms, blossoming in safe spaces and ebbing with repression, whether colonial or religious in origin.

Queer-y-ing the Arab explores queerness through an Arab perspective. It queries and then queers interpretations of queerArab, and art, pushing the boudaries of assumption to explore unfamiliar meanings. Not all artists in this exhibition identify as LGBT+, however, they all explore themes of queerness and non-conformity in their artistic practice. The emphasis here is on a more expansive definition of queer: as lying outside expectation or initial assumption. The resulting exhibition challenges the popular notion of the art space as a sterile white cube, and revises the role of art audiences, and their ability to alter artworks and affect their own meaning or interpretation.

*Queer-y-ing the Arab is an apexart New York City Open Call Exhibition. For the latest information on the exhibition and related events, please visit https://apexart.org/earlofbushwick.php or contact elizabeth.larison@apexart.org.

The Earl of Bushwick is a non-binary queer Arab and immigrant, concerned with ideas of the Queer, the Other, and issues of not belonging, especially as it applies to art and class. Their home in Brooklyn, dubbed The Earl’s Court (2015), is a long-running safe space and art project. They have presented work at the Armory Show, Bushwick Open Studios, and the National Arts Club, New York (2019). The Earl of Bushwick also curated We are not artists(2017), and Red Black and Nude (2018).

apexart’s program supporters past and present include the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Buhl Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Spencer Brownstone, the Kenneth A. Cowin Foundation, Epstein Teicher Philanthropies, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., William Talbott Hillman Foundation/Affirmation Arts Fund, the Fifth Floor Foundation, the Consulate General of Israel in New York, The Puffin Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by LMCC, funds from NYSCA Electronic Media/Film in Partnership with Wave Farm: Media Arts Assistance Fund, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

For more information please click here.
Image courtesy of the event organizer.