press release

OPENING EVENTS: THURSDAY MAY 21, 2009 12 PM - 9 PM

5 PM PANEL DISCUSSION - Please rsvp@acfny.org Introduction by Andreas Stadler, Director Austrian Cultural Forum with Martha Kirszenbaum, David Harper, Negar Ahkami, Ayad Alkadhi, Zoulikha Bouabdellah and Esin Turan Moderated by Karin Meisel

7 PM OPENING REMARKS Andreas Stadler, Director Austrian Cultural Forum Martha Kirszenbaum, Curator Karen Hopkins, President Brooklyn Academy of Music Claudia Schmied, Austrian Minister of Culture

Followed by a PERFORMANCE by Princess Hijab

THE SEEN AND THE HIDDEN: (DIS)COVERING THE VEIL The woman's veil is one of the most symbolically charged pieces of clothing in contemporary dress; it is provocative even when it is not revealing. With roots in the three Abrahamic religions, it has become one of the most visible icons of contemporary Islam. The wearing of the veil conveys conflicting ideas of faith, sexuality and public life and thus raises a host of questions and tensions between religion and identity. It represents an important cultural tradition yet remains a very personal practice for women as well as a symbol communicated to others within the public sphere.

The wearing of the veil has caused heated discussion worldwide - both in Europe and the United States, but also in countries where Islam is the prevalent religion. Often rejected as a symbol of backwardness and oppression, veiling has simultaneously become a symbol that stresses the significance of protection, privacy, morality and piety.

By examining the positions of contemporary artists from the Greater Middle East (Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan), Europe (Austria, France, Germany) and North America (New York, Canada), this exhibition intends to be a trans-cultural exploration of the numerous approaches to the ideas that surround both the literal and metaphorical meaning of the veil. It includes works in a variety of media such as video, installation, photography, and painting.

Concept and produced by Andreas Stadler Curators David Harper and Martha Kirszenbaum (New York) and Karin Meisel (Vienna) Exhibition Coordination Elisabeth Haider Exhibition Assistance Natascha Boojar, Anne Marie Butler, Kerstin Schuetz-Mueller, Maria Simma

With generous support from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture; Austrian Airlines; Botstiber Foundation

Supporting Institutions of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York: Austrian Airlines, Botstiber Foundation, Cassina USA, Demel, RZB Finance, The Austrian Wines, Times Square Alliance, Zumtobel Staff

Special Thanks to: Stefan Bidner, Farid Hafez, Karen Hopkins, Gerald Matt, Zeyba Rahman, Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery

The Seen and the Hidden: (Dis)covering the Veil at the Austrian Cultural Forum is presented in conjunction with Muslim Voices: Arts and Ideas, an unprecedented ten-day festival in New York City celebrating Islamic culture. http://www.MuslimVoicesFestival.org

A catalog will be available at the Austrian Cultural Forum.

ARTISTS Negar Ahkami (USA), Ayad Alkadhi (Iraq/USA), Zoulikha Bouabdellah (Algeria/France), Adriana Czernin (Bulgaria/Austria), Katrina Daschner (Germany/Austria), Shadi Ghadirian (Iran), Nilbar Güres (Turkey/Austria), Marlene Haring (Austria), Farheen HAQ (Canada), Princess Hijab (France), Hannah Menne (Austria), Sara Rahbar (Iran), Marjane Satrapi (France), Asma Ahmed Shikoh (Pakistan/USA), Esin Turan (Turkey/Austria)

only in german

THE SEEN AND THE HIDDEN: (DIS)COVERING THE VEIL
Konzept/Produktion: Andreas Stadler
Kuratoren: David Harper, Martha Kirszenbaum, Karin Meisel

Künstler: Negar Ahkami, Ayad Alkadhi, Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Adriana Czernin, Katrina Daschner, Shadi Ghadirian, Nilbar Güres, Marlene Haring, Farheen Haq, Princess Hijab, Hannah Menne, Sara Rahbar, Marjane Satrapi, Asma Ahmed Shikoh, Esin Turan