The New Museum: Cairo Cosmopolitan
What is a neighborhood but an amalgam of the people who live therein? New York City certainly knows the drill, but so does Cairo–this very town is the location of the show Museum as Hub: Antikhana", closing Sunday, September 21 at The New Museum.
According to the show's narrative, Antikhana is a neighborhood that has, over the years, seen its crew of creatives cross paths with more conservative male workers from the "lanes," or the streets that surround downtown Cairo's Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art.
Also in the area are the neglected 19th-century Said Halim's Palace, numerous car mechanics' garages, coffee shops, greengrocers, and carpenters. And architecturally as well as sociologically, incongruous patterns of various eras have imposed themselves upon each other, lending a sometimes obscured, sometimes nicely augmented eclecticism. Its chili: some flavors have blended, some have remained distinct and tastily juxtaposed.
To go to the show is to see works by artists Susan Hefuna, Ayman Ramadan, Jan Rothuizen, and Tarek Zaki, who use physical objects and the actual surroundings of the neighborhood to convey the feeling of being in this neighborhood, and the area's symbolism of cities that blend successfully. The show is a product of Museum as Hub, which is an educational and cultural social space initiated by the New Museum in partnership with Insa Art Space (Seoul, South Korea); Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City, Mexico); Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art (Cairo, Egypt); and Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven, The Netherlands).