Geopolitics Through the Lens of the Beatles / Hyperallergic

Michael Rakowitz, “John! Paul! George! Ringo! Gamal!” (2014). Yugoslav Flimski Svet magazine (translation = Movie World) October 8, 1964 on Al Musawar magazine, 1960 23.75 x 16.75 inches, framed. All images courtesy of Rhona Hoffman Gallery.

Michael Rakowitz, “John! Paul! George! Ringo! Gamal!” (2014). Yugoslav Flimski Svet magazine (translation = Movie World) October 8, 1964 on Al Musawar magazine, 1960 23.75 x 16.75 inches, framed. All images courtesy of Rhona Hoffman Gallery.

CHICAGO — Iraqi-American conceptual artist Michael Rakowitz works in a liminal space between fantasy and reality, much like an artist who makes fan art. This is a compliment and a reality, for it’s impossible to think about the artist without thinking about fandom; what contemporary artist is not inspired greatly by another artist, writer, band, historical time period, or even specific materials? In this sense, every great artist is a super fan — but not everyone will admit to it. Michael Rakowitz is one of those exceptions.

In his solo exhibition The Breakup at Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Rakowitz takes on two very loaded international cultural subjects: The Beatles and West Asian political relations. Both are confounding, epic, and spark conversations, debates and disagreements in the present-day. Attempting to follow or dissect either in a logical manner is like trying to find invisible needles in haystacks behind closed doors. This is part of Rakowitz’s artmaking process: “As an artistic gesture I try to make an unlikely thing happen, and the impossible becomes possible,” he (apparently) writes on his Wikipedia page. “It’s art because it’s impossible for this to exist in the world.”

Read the review on Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/104023/breaking-ups-never-been-better/