About the Exhibition
Wafaa Bilal: Indulge Me is the first major survey of internationally renowned artist Wafaa Bilal (b. 1966, Najaf, Iraq; lives in New York, NY). Working in performance, sculpture, and with online and interactive technologies, Bilal’s interdisciplinary practice investigates the dynamic between international and interpersonal politics while highlighting the tension between his home in the United States, which he has deemed the “comfort zone,” and the “conflict zone” of Iraq. The exhibition covers the breadth of Bilal’s versatile career by exploring his performance practice, the use of power in Saddam Hussein’s regime, and Iraqi history and antiquity. It will feature archival displays of his iconic month-long performance Domestic Tension (2007) and year-long performance 3rdi (2010–11), as well as two new works including a sculptural commission for the MCA.
A theme running throughout the exhibition is cultural cannibalism—that is, how culture (in particular the culture of the other) can be used, disassembled, and consumed. Within each of Bilal’s works, one can find metaphorical and literal traces of this idea. Whether through the artist leveraging his own body to interrogate notions of power, or through his use of innovative technologies to rectify acts of cultural destruction, Bilal shows us what it means to consciously engage across cultures while highlighting the negative global implications of consumption, exploitation, and profiteering.
The exhibition is accompanied by a major publication, the first to survey multiple projects by the visionary artist.
Wafaa Bilal: Indulge Me is curated by Bana Kattan, Pamela Alper Associate Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Lead support is provided by the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris, Zell Family Foundation, and Cari and Michael Sacks.