Welcome to ArtsGazing

Selecting the best of New York City’s arts scene

In our ‘Opening This Week’ section, we feature two sides to Middle Eastern art: the archeological one with its painstaking excavation and research, and the modern one that pushes against issues and ideology to create powerful works. A Wonder to Behold: Craftsmanship and the Creation of Babylon’s Ishtar Gate at ISAW, melds scholarship, history, and archeology for a show that brings history to life. In a region that has experienced tremendous upheaval physically and politically, it’s worth remembering how important the area is to the historical record of humanity, as well as still being an area where new discoveries are possible.

With issues of exile, identity, religion and history, the contemporary art exhibit A Bridge Between You and Everything: An Exhibition of Iranian Women Artists at High Line Nine, could not have come a better time. Thirteen artists present personal narratives ranging from societal pressures on women to documenting censorship of the arts, creating work that speaks to the current discourse in many societies around the world.

The ‘Gallery Shows’ this week showcases the New Museum’s Hans Haacke: All Connected, retrospective of the conceptual artist whose career of questioning economic, political, and social issues has resonated with the public (although not always with arts institutions) for over sixty years. Many of his works could have been made today, making this show either eerily prescient or a depressing reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same.