Michael Rakowitz: Backstroke of the West
By Omar Kholeif
Acclaimed Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz (b. 1973) is a natural storyteller who combines personal experiences with extensive research to create contextual, illustrated objects, installations, and interventions.
Based in Chicago, the artist explores contested social, cultural, and political histories in his work, inviting viewers to consider their complicit relationship to the world around them.
Rakowitz's provocative and compelling multimedia projects confront American perceptions of Iraqi culture. Whether he's teaching students how to cook Iraqi food or recreating the thousands of items destroyed or stolen during the 2003 looting of the country's National Museum in Baghdad, Rakowitz is consistently working to address the trauma created by Saddam Hussein's regime and America's war on Iraq.
This lavishly illustrated catalog accompanies the artist’s first museum survey at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and delves into ten of the artist’s best-known works as well as one new project created for the MCA’s exhibition.
Illuminating texts by Omar Kholeif, Shumon Basar, and Ella Shohat address the narrative elements and historical contexts of Rakowitz’s work.
This book demonstrates art's ability to engage and confront the viewer and to generate greater understanding across cultural divides.
Designed by Gabriel Melcher
Published by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and DelMonico Books-Prestel, 2017
Softcover, 144 pages, full color, 8.13 × 10 inches