Aaron Tugendhaft, “The Idols of ISIS,” with a response by Ali Cherri

Thursday, September 15, 2016, 7:30 PM
at the University of Chicago, Center in Paris, 6 rue Thomas Mann, Paris 13ème

On February 26, 2015, the Islamic State released a video onto the internet depicting destruction of ancient sculptures in the Mosul Museum, claiming that these sculptures were idols that needed to be destroyed, while international organizations responded that they belonged to Iraqi and world heritage and needed to be preserved. This talk will explore how religion, politics, and art intersect in this image of image destruction and raise questions about the aestheticization of politics in the age of the selfie.

Aaron TUGENDHAFT is a Harper Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University in 2012 and also holds degrees in Art History and Social Thought from the University of Chicago. He is the editor, with Josh Ellenbogen, of Idol Anxiety (Stanford 2011) and recipient of the American Oriental Society’s Jonas Greenfield Prize for Younger Semitists. He is currently working on a book about the Islamic State video of antiquities destruction in the Mosul Museum.

Ali CHERRI is a visual artist and filmmaker based in Beirut and Paris. His current project looks at the place of the archaeological object in the construction of historical narratives. His work has been presented in museums and art spaces around the world, including But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise Guggenheim New York (2016), A Taxonomy of Fallacies: The Life of Dead Objects a solo exhibition at Sursock Museum, Beirut (2016), Rainbow Caravan Aichi Triennale, Japan (2016).