Selected recent reviews, press articles, and interviews.
Review: Journal of Arabian Studies, September, 2017, Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East (Katarzyna Falęcka). “Composed of nearly thirty essays and interviews, edited by Anthony Downey, and published at a time when political turmoil marginalizes the role of culture in many parts of the region, this volume considers the potentialities for rethinking cultural institutions from within crisis…” Link to book.
Review: Tohu Magazine, August, 2017, Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East (Lama Suleiman). “The collection offers valuable analyses and detailed research-oriented knowledge of the workings of culture and its underlying socio-political circumstances in the Arab world…” Link to book.
Review: British Journal of Photography, June 2017, Art, Justice and Terror Conference, Imperial War Museum, London, (Susanna D’Aliesio). “In the last four months there have been four separate terrorist attacks in the UK: against this backdrop, the Imperial War Museum London and London College of Communications symposium Art, Justice and Terror on 17 June came at a vital time…”
Review: Hyperallergic, May 2017, Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East (Angela Harutyunyan). “The ambitious volume Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East in many ways responds to the post-1990s archive fever, but from a specific geographic locale…” Link to Book.
NEWS: The Art Newspaper, March 2017, New Professorial position dedicated to contemporary art and culture of Middle East (Gareth Harris). “BCU has created the position to address the fact that there is currently no postgraduate programme offering degrees in the field of visual culture in the Middle East. The idea is to create a globally significant research cluster for postgraduates and PhD research students to study visual culture in the Middle East at BCU, in partnership with other organisations based in the [Middle East] region …”
Review: Monocle, March 2017. Review of Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East.
“The complexities of the Middle East can befuddle the most experienced pundits. So for a bit of context about the health of the arts there, this compendium of essays explores how the dust has settled after a series of revolutions that rocked the region – and what these shifts might mean for the Middle East’s complex but simmering art scene…” Link to book.
Review: American Archivist, Fall/Winter 2016, Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East (Christopher M. Laico). “The late Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz (1911–2006) asserted that you can tell whether a man is clever by his answers and wise by his questions. In Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East, academic, writer, and editor Anthony Downey presents the writings, interviews, and original artwork of acclaimed academics, curators, activists, filmmakers, and artists. By turns clever and at all points wise, these practitioners have produced work that not only creatively engages the heterogeneity of archived cultural production across the Arab world, but also astutely posits important questions for archival science…” Link to Book.
Interview: Di’van Journal, December 2016, Interview with Anthony Downey by Alan Cruickshank.
“Over the course of the last five years or so, which have witnessed unprecedented turmoil in the region, it is all the more notable, moreover, how state agencies have become more emboldened in their outright distrust of cultural producers and the institutions they represent…”
Interview: Qantara Journal, Paris, 20 July 2016, Interview with Anthony Downey by Ingrid Perbal
“Les nouvelles technologies ont offert des opportunités de développement étonnantes aux artistes du monde arabe. Anthony Downey revient sur la plate-forme de réflexion en ligne Ibraaz lancée il y a cinq ans et dont il est le rédacteur en chef.” Interview by Daniel Ingrid Perbal (translated byJeanne Bouniort), p.15-16.
Interview: Keen On Magazine, 18 July 2016, Interview with Anthony Downey by Daniel Lippitsch.
“Daniel Lippitsch discussed with academic and critic Anthony Downey the current relationship between art and politics and how this relationship claims its validity in this extraordinarily fast-paced and globally connected world, without losing its significance…”
Review: The Society for Contemporary Thought and the Islamicate World, 03 May 2016. Review of Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in the Middle East,
“Uncommon Grounds is ultimately not only an engaging read but also a powerful plea to relevant academic disciplines to expand the lens through which we read the intellectual, political, and social histories of the Middle East. The book is a must read for students of the region and of media and visual cultures…” Review by Hanan Toukan, 2016. Link to book.
Review: Slavs and Tatars in Art Asia Pacific, Almanac 2016.
“Quotes from Kutadgu Bilig in Uighur line the edge of pages along with their Arabic, German, Polish, Turkish and English translations. Elsewhere are images of Slavs and Tatars’s pun-fueled interactive exhibitions, along with essays from academics and curators.” Review by Simon Frank, p. 236. Link to book.
Review: Dissonant Archives in Art Asia Pacific, Almanac 2016.
“How should the relationship between contemporary art and the archive be defined and negotiated? What purpose does the archive serve? These and other questions are probed through writings and artworks by filmmakers, artists, curators and writers in Dissonant Archives…” Review by Denise Tsui, p. 237. Link to Book.
Review: Art and Politics Now in E-International Relations, 22 February 2016.
“Anthony Downey’s Art and Politics Now is an immediately visually attractive book from the shelf. Its richly illustrated content provides a survey of contemporary art practices which address ‘the political’ and the real world as a frontier in the expanding sphere of contemporary art.” Link to book.
Review: A Necessary Dialogue: JAOU Tunis 2015 in Kalimat Magazine, 14 June 2015.
Review of the JAOU Tunis 2015 conference at the Musée du Bardo, hosted by Anthony Downey. “‘Art should bring people together’, he [Sultan Al-Qassemi] noted, and it is in articulation of this simple yet profound aspiration where JAOU 2015 has arguably most succeeded.”
Review: JAOU Tunis uses art and culture as a retort to extremism, 1 June 2015.
Review of the JAOU Tunis 2015 conference at the Musée du Bardo, hosted by Anthony Downey. “Earlier this year, the third edition of Jaou Tunis – an annual arts symposium held in the Tunisian capital – was set to take place at The National Bardo Museum as a fairly low-key affair. But when gunmen stormed the building on March 18 and killed 21 people, festival organisers decided to fight back with their strongest weapon: arts and culture.”
Review: Uncommon Grounds, H-AMCA, H-Net Reviews, May 2015.
Sascha Crasnow. Review of Downey, Anthony, ed., Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in the Middle East and North Africa. H-AMCA, H-Net Reviews. May, 2015. Link to book.
Review: Uncommon Grounds in The Art Newspaper, 1 May 2015.
The essays, based on experiences of the revolutionary changes, are varied in their levels of objectivity and clarity, but they have been well edited by an experienced academic, Anthony Downey. Link to book.
Review: Art and Politics Now in Art Review Asia, Spring 2015.
Anthony Downey’s illustrated, themed analysis of political artworks from the past 15 years provides an accessible snapshot of the different ways in which artist are currently engaging with and responding to socioeconomic issues… Downey’s ability to contextualise a range of artistic approaches within such a pacey format makes this both a useful reference and an enjoyable read. p.111.
Review: Transnational Cinema Review of Uncommon Grounds, 10 April 2015.
“…it [Uncommon Grounds] not only sheds light on a complex moment of aesthetic, social and political post- Arab Spring transition, but also provides leads as to how this rugged laboratory’s results can illumine the struggles and semiotic tangles of other politics of location far from its own.” Review by Jay Murphy, 2015. Link to book.
New Texts Out Now: Uncommon Grounds in Jadaliyya, 4 March 2015.
In an interview with Jadaliyya Anthony Downey (Ed.) speaks about the motivations behind, the content of, and aims of the recently published essay collection Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East. Link to book.
Best of 2014: Our Top 10 Art Books, Hyperallergic, 31 December 2014.
Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East, edited by Anthony Downey, acclaimed as the best art book of 2014. Link to book.
Review: Uncommon Grounds on LSE Blog, 7 December 2014.
Arek Dakessian reviews the essay collection Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East, edited by Anthony Downey. Link to book.
Review: Uncommon Grounds in Kalimat, 5 November 2014.
Wided Khadraoui reviews the essay collection Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East, edited by Anthony Downey. Link to book.
The Monocle Weekly, Monocle Radio, 2 November 2014.
Anthony Downey speaks to Monocle Radio about his recently published book, Art and Politics now.
7 questions for Ibraaz’s Anthony Downey, I.B.Tauris Blog, 10 October 2014.
I.B.Tauris, publishers of Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in the Middle East and North Africa spoke with Anthony Downey (Ed.) about the origins of Ibraaz, the forum’s mission and what can be expected from the future volumes in the series.