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A Crime Against Art at the New Museum

Hila Peleg, "A Crime Against Art," 2007, still image from a digital video in color.
Hila Peleg, "A Crime Against Art," 2007, still image from a digital video in color. Pictured: Jan Verwoert and Maria Lind.

A Crime Against Art
7:30pm Friday 21 March 2008
New Museum - 235 Bowery, New York NY

In February 2007, artist Anton Vidokle and curator Tirdad Zolghadr staged a kind of theatrical mock trial at the ARCO Fair in Madrid. Working in the legacy of similar efforts of the 20s and 30s conducted by André Breton and other continental surrealists, Vidokle and Zolghadr stood accused of a vaporous charge that was to manifest only as the proceedings went on in front of a jury of the two's friends and peers, many of which were also involved in Vidokle's unitednationsplaza art academy as exhibition happening that year in parallel meanwhile in Berlin. The Madrid Trial was later adapted as a film by Hila Peleg — who is curating Manifesta 7 this year along with Anselm Franke, Adam Budak, and the Raqs Media Collective — with a slightly adjusted cast of characters and the title of A Crime Against Art. In the film, we see an international cast of critics, theorists, curators, and artists discuss the future of participation in contemporary art, the collusion of artists with the "new bourgeois" class, the softening critical agency in contemporary art practice and discourse, and the instrumentalization of art and institutions into larger matrices of affirmative culture. The film, produced by unitednationsplazastudios and shown internationally, enjoys its New York premier this Friday at the New Museum.