Sophia Al-Maria’s First Solo U.S. Exhibition

2016
July
18

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“Black Friday” (2016)

There’s one very important Friday every year for Americans: Black Friday, America’s National shopping holiday. On the contrary, in Arab states Friday is the day of congregational prayer and the most important day of the week. In artist Sophia Al-Maria’s first U.S. solo exhibition aptly named Black Friday, she theorizes the two traditions and raises the question: have shopping malls and consumerism become a new form of religion?

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“The Future was Desert Part II” (2016)

The Qatari-American artist, writer, and filmmaker was born to an American mother and Qatari father. Having spent time in both countries and at the forefront of the millennials, her childhood was rooted in the technological growth of the Gulf in Qatar. Those experiences eventually led to the coinage of the term “Gulf Futurism,” the exploration of the phenomenon of the entitlement of youth in the Persian Gulf, fueled by fast cars and even faster technology. As an artist, Al-Maria delves into the investigation of the negative influences of the digital age. Perhaps a “hyper-connected digital society” is means for a ultimately lonelier space (CNN).

“There needs to be an exclusive first-class purdah lounge somewhere, where people like Sophia Al-Maria can hang out because they’re too gifted, intelligent and interesting to be exposed to the actual Internet.” – Bruce Sterling

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“Between Distant Bodies” (2013)

Sophia Al-Maria’s exhibition is scheduled to debut on July 26th, 2016 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and will be housed there until October 31st, 2016. “Her new video, Black Friday, is a rumination on shopping malls everywhere as secular temples of capitalism. Beneath the projected video lies The Litany, an installation of flickering electronic devices displaying short, glitchy loops—a heap of old screens that acts as a coded history of consumption, conflict, and desire” (Whitney Museum of American Art).