Picasso Sculpture, now on view, is on Hyperallergic’s “Best of 2015” list, along with past exhibitions Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955–1980, One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North, and Wael Shawky: Cabaret Crusades at MoMA PS1.

[Installation view of Picasso Sculpture. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, September 14, 2015–February 7, 2016. © 2015 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Pablo Enriquez]


For his first solo exhibition at a major American museum, the Egyptian artist Wael Shawky presents his epic video trilogy that recounts the history of The Crusades from an Arab perspective. Inspired by The Crusades Through Arab Eyes by Lebanese historian Amin Maalouf, Shawky’s videos chart the numerous European campaigns to the Holy Land, starting from the early Crusades from 1096–1099 A.D. that are depicted in CABARET CRUSADES: THE HORROR SHOW FILES (2010) and the First and Second Crusades from 1099–1145 A.D. in CABARET CRUSADES: THE PATH TO CAIRO (2012). The MoMA PS1 exhibition will feature both works and debut the third and final video from the series, CABARET CRUSADES: THE SECRETS of KARBALA.

 Wael Shawky: Cabaret Crusades is now on view through August 31, 2015!

(Photo credits: Pablo Enriquez)


Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades
three videos, 2010, 2012, 2014, using 200-year-old marionettes from a collection in Italy for the first installment, custom-made ceramic figures for the second, and custom-made Murano glass figures for the third.

Today was supposed to be the last day to see this amazing trio of films and accompanying sculptures and drawings at PS1 MoMA- extended through September 7th. 

New on our blog:

Documenta 13 in Black and White
by Rick Herron, Assistant Manager of Visitor Services

Rick Herron, Assistant Manager of Visitor Services at the New Museum, recently visited Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany. For Six Degrees, he has put together a selection of photos of the exhibition. Documenta 13 closes September 16, 2012. READ MORE

@ladygaga: Wael Shawky’s exhibition @momaps1 curated by @klausbiesenbach opening last night was simply magical. He is not only a creative genius, but a master artisan, an epic filmmaker, an important historical storyteller. I have shivers everytime I return to his work, first in Berlin now in Long Island City at this incredible space. This is a “don’t miss” opportunity for any New York or traveling art lovers. So happy to see how far he’s come. Go to the exhibition and experience the magical world of Wael…I did. I will be mesmerized for days and days.

Cabaret Crusades is an ongoing project, initiated by the Egyptian artist Wael Shawky in 2010, that tells the story of the Crusades—the military expeditions to the Holy Land undertaken by European Christians from the eleventh to the thirteenth century—through images that reflect the perspective of those who experienced the invasions. 

On view through January 5.


Come to MoMA PS1 this Saturday for another Night at the Museum, a night in the midst of challenging art, bring old friends and make new friends…
We had so much fun designing this over the top invite together, but anyway the most rewarding in working there next to all the artists and art we work with is the fact that we have the greatest, funniest, most adventurous and elegant board and team of colleagues!
Hoping to see you all on saturday!

On view at MoMA PS1:
Wael Shawky: Cabaret CrusadesZero Tolerance; Francesco Vezzoli: Teatro Romano ; Bob and Roberta Smith: Art AmnestySamara Golden: The Flat Side of the KnifeAnne Imhof: DEALThe Little Things Could Be Dearer.

Tickets available for purchase here.

THE DAILY PIC (#1330): This is a still from “The Horror Show Files”, part I of “Cabaret Crusades”, Wael Shawky’s amazing video trilogy about the West’s medieval attacks on Islam. All three parts are now on view at PS1 art space in New York, but I still think the first one, which I originally caught at the Documenta festival in Germany in 2012, is the best.

The video uses 19th-century Italian marionettes to tell the story of the First Crusade, but seen from the viewpoint of the war’s Muslim protagonists and with all dialogue in Arabic. (Inspiration came from the collection of medieval texts in “The Crusades Through Arab Eyes”, published by Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf in 1984). Hearing Arabic words coming from the mouth of the Christian Pope Urban II, who preached and launched the war, is deeply peculiar – but of course reflects the way his words and ideas must have been imagined and digested by the culture he was attacking.

It is almost a cliché to note that puppets are always a bit uncanny; they are doubly so when they enact slaughter and warfare. (Nothing’s deader than a murdered marionette.) That helps make Shawky’s piece all the more unsettling – precisely what we need right now, when our views of Christian and Muslim are far too settled.

The Daily Pic also appears at ArtnetNews.com. For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.


Still images from the film Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo (2012) by Egyptian artist, Wael Shawky.

Based on extensive periods of research and enquiry, Wael Shawky’s work tackles notions of national, religious and artistic identity through film, performance and storytelling. Mixing truth and fiction, childlike wonder and spiritual doctrine, Shawky has staged epic recreations of the medieval clashes between Muslims and Christians using child actors to recount poetic myths, paying homage to the important narratives of yesteryear. (Text Source

Shawky is represented by Lisson Gallery & his work is currently on view at MOMA PS1 in NYC.