In This Issue: Art That Insists-Persistence with Urgency

Article excerpt

The Winter 2003 issue of Art Journal featured a thoughtful and alarming forum on the looting and destruction of historical objects from Iraqi museums and other institutions following the early stages of the United States-led invasion and the now legendary, blundering boast of a "mission accomplished." Three years later, the lamentable conflict and cultural assault remain strikingly unresolved, increasingly violent, and deeply unsettling. Interspersed throughout this issue are images from Perry Bard's project Status: Stolen. White silhouettes-blanks or absences-placed on orange-alert backgrounds signify a handful of the many historical artifacts plundered from the Baghdad Museum during the first days of a seemingly interminable occupation. This vivid physical evidence remains missing in action-an erasure of a past that renders the present and future vulnerable and incomplete. With so many others, I wish that Bard's eloquently restrained project, introduced here in a text by Gregory Sholette, had become less relevant-no longer so urgently consequential-but I am grateful for the vigilance it stimulates.

Other features in this issue vividly extend a faceted and nuanced conversation on how and why art and artists communicate consequentially in the world. A number of the texts deploy a deliberately dialogic or dialectical structure to puzzle through the many roles of art and artists. Saloni Mathur's pursuit of ideas of collaboration, doubleness, and cultural and artistic identity in the work of Amrit and Rabindra Singh, identical twin sisters, analytically diagrams their introspective, twinned practice. Coauthors Chris Mills and Nick Muellner, by contrast, orchestrate a dialogical text-a speculative intellectual duet on representations of thinking, learning, and pedagogy represented in the work of selected modern and contemporary photographers and filmmakers. …