Whatever Happened to the Protest and the Rage

Columbia Uni, New York, NY



For a week, 5,000 students had occupied five buildings on the Morningside Heights campus, protesting the university's connection to the military industrial complex and it plans to build a gym in Morningside Park, a public park in the mostly African-American neighborhood next to campus. Police had forcibly removed the strikers from the buildings the days prior to their arrival, but the entire campus was in a sort of "lockdown" with police and guards denying access to the majority of the campus. This gave legendary tour manager Rock Skully an idea. Never one to shy away from confrontation and always the promoter, he got ahold of the strike organizers and offered to hold a free show on the campus. Knowing the police would never permit this, the band and their equipment had to be smuggled in. "Just think of the publicity," I'm sure Skully thought. " San Francisco's Grateful Dead fooling the cops to play for New York student radicals." The band members, also not ones to shy away from the spotlight of the fuzz, Merry Pranskter blood running through their veins, thought this was a great idea.


ARTISTS: Husam AlSayed, Ava Ansari, Stephen Stapleton

DATE: 23 April 2015

EVENT: The conversation explored the means by which contemporary Middle Eastern artists and curators are navigating a globalized institutional art world, the impact of ongoing international focus on the Middle East and Islam on cultural and artistic production in the region, the dissolution of geopolitical borders through informed dialogue, and the challenges and successes currently facing contemporary Middle Eastern art.

Poster designed by Kuba Rudzinski

Moneera Al-Ghadeer - Visiting Professor, Columbia Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies

Husam Al-Sayed - Artist
Ava Ansari - Artist and Associate Curator, Edge of Arabia
Stephen Stapleton - Artist and Edge of Arabia co-founder