The Bidoun Library at the 2013 Carnegie International

The Bidoun Library at the 2013 Carnegie International

The Bidoun Library at the 2013 Carnegie International
October 5, 2013–March 16, 2014
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

The Bidoun Library is a presentation of printed matter, carefully selected with no regard for taste or quality, that attempts to document the innumerable ways that people have depicted and defined—slandered, celebrated, obfuscated, hyperbolized, ventriloquized, photographed, surveyed, and/or exhumed—that vast, vexed, nefarious construct known as “the Middle East.” The result is banal and offensive, a parade of stereotypes, caricatures, and misunderstandings, all the trappings of the Middle East as fetish: veils, oil, fashion victims; sexy sheikhs, sex with sheikhs, Sufis, stonings; calligraphy, the caliphate, terrorism; Palestinians. We wanted to see what would happen if we put together a library without regard to aptness or excellence; to choose books not for their subjects, but their contexts; not for their authors, but their publishers; not for their qualities, but in their quantities.


“Water was the first type of drilling fluid to be used, but when it became evident that superior drilling fluids could be made when certain clays were added, the art of mud control began.”

Kuwait Oil Company, Crude to Carrier, The Epic of Oil. Kuwait City: Information Department, 1967.


“The life of an immigrant family of three. Having been a violinist, the man is used to play violin when he is alone. The woman is working in an office and the eight-year-old child attends school. The man has problems with his wife. Being in a bad situation the couple can not help each other. But the child is aware of the problems.”

Mohammad Aghili, Hossein Mahini, A Prospect of Iran’s Film in Exile. Gothenburg: FRI Fil, 1993.


“Choose Your Own Adventure is the best thing that has come along since books themselves.”
– Alysha Beyer, age 11

“I didn’t read much before, but now I read my Choose Your Own Adventure books almost every night.”
– Chris Brogan, age 13

“I love the control over what happens next.”
– Kosta Efstathiou, age 17

Shannon Gilligan, Choose Your Own Adventure: The Terrorist Trap. New York: Bantam-Skylark, 1991.

Bidoun Benefit Dinner 2013

Orhan Pamuk and Shirin Neshat

A big thank you to all who joined us this past Sunday evening for the Bidoun Benefit Dinner. It was really really fun!

A special thanks to our readers: Chelsea Clinton, Stuart Comer, Lawrence Weiner, Lynne Tillman, Knight Landesman, and Orhan Pamuk & Shirin Neshat; and our host committee: Maria Baibakova, Yto Barrada, Aarthi Belani, Lisa Farjam, Dana Farouki, Coco Ferguson, Princess Firyal of Jordan, Leila Heller, Shirin Neshat, and Sheena Wagstaff.

Bidoun at the New York Art Book Fair

New York Art Book Fair
September 19–22, 2013
MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave, Queens

Bidoun is taking part in the eighth annual New York Art Book Fair at PS1 this weekend. Come visit, chat, and peruse your favorite Bidoun titles.

The fair begins this Thursday from 6-9 pm and runs through the weekend.

Also! On the final evening of the fair, Sunday the 22nd from 6-9 pm, join us for vodka, music, MFK Fisher’s favorite minestrone soup, and diverse readings on and about FOOD by Bidoun’s Michael C. Vazquez , who joins an illustrious cast including Gini Alhadeff , Clarissa Dalrymple , K8 Hardy , Gaby Hoffmann , Matthew Higgs , Emily Stokes , Lynne Tillman , Nicola Tyson , Wendy Yao , and more. Music by Bidoun’s Tiffany Malakoobideh. Look for signs of the pop-up cafe at the new MoMA PS1 storefront. Organized by Negar Azimi and Pati Hertling.

Bidoun Launch in Los Angeles!


Bidoun Launch Los Angeles
Sunday August 25, 2013 at 3pm
Ooga Booga 2, 356 S. Mission Road, Los Angeles

Join us for a celebrity-Bidouni-studded event with readings and performances and music and ice cream. Show begins promptly at 3!

Bidoun at 'Paper Weight — Genre-defining Magazines 2000 to Now' at Haus Der Kunst, Munich

Paper Weight — Genre-defining Magazines 2000 to Now
July 7 – October 27, 2013
Haus Der Kunst, Munich

Bidoun is pleased to be part of the exhibition ‘Paper Weight — Genre-defining Magazines 2000 to Now’ at Haus Der Kunst, Munich. Curated by PIN-UP editor Felix Burrichter and designed by Athens-based artist and architect Andreas Angelidakis, the exhibition features BUTT, Candy, 032c, and Sang Bleu among other publications.

Bidoun and Dirty Looks Present Pedro Almódovar's Labyrinth of Passion

Still from Labyrinth of Passion, Pedro Almodo, 1982

Labyrinth of Passion, Pedro Almódovar, 1982
Saturday July 27, 2013 at 2pm
El Charro Espanol
4 Charles Street, New York

Bidoun and Dirty Looks present an afternoon screening of Pedro Almodovar’s second feature film at the legendary Village restaurant El Charro Espanol. Labyrinth of Passion follows scantily disguised but heavily camped-up members of the Iranian royal family in their famous period of limbo following the revolution of 1979 as they are thrust into extravagant plot lines that weave hilariously between historical accuracy and ribald fantasy. “Toraya,” the disgruntled ex-empress is desperate to fertilize herself with royal seed via the young Crown Prince “Riza.” Riza, meanwhile, is busy attempting to cure himself of his homosexuality after falling in love with a nymphomaniac pop star named Sexilia, but his former lover Sadec (played by a young and nubile Antonio Banderas) is secretly a pro-Khomeini guerilla belonging to a group attempting to kidnap him. Plus: full body plastic surgery, doctors, laxatives, and other culturally appropriate themes.

The film’s elliptical Iranian historical connection has been tragically overlooked ― at worst misunderstood to be about a fictional Arab monarchy, and at best, mentioned in passing. Bidoun and Dirty Looks are pleased to host this absolutely essential revisiting of this deliciously queer retelling of an important moment in Iranian history.

BubuWeb at NYU Abu Dhabi


May 1, 2013
NYUAD Downtown Campus, Abu Dhabi
Free and open to the public

Kenneth Goldsmith, founder of UbuWeb, and Bidoun’s Tiffany Malakooti will be presenting an evening of experimental work from the Bidoun-o-sphere, including a variety of historical and contemporary films, music, and radio plays.

NYU Abu Dhabi

On newstands now: Bidoun #28 Interviews

Bidoun #28 INTERVIEWS features conversations among Giorgio Agamben, Sophia Al-Maria, Hossein Amanat, Negar Azimi, Omar Berrada, Leland de la Durantaye, Jeremy Deller, Mona Eltahawy, Lisa Farjam, Yasmine El Rashidi, Larry Gagosian, Conner Habib, Yasmine Hamdan, Zahi Hawass, Michelle Kuo, Ursula Lindsey, Navid Negahban, Sukhdev Sandhu, Anna Della Subin, Benjamin Tiven, Michael C. Vazquez and Marina Warner.

Full Moon Afternoon with Bidoun at PS1

Full Moon Afternoon with Bidoun at PS1

Sunday, January 27 at 4pm
4601 21st Street, Long Island City, NY 11101
Free with museum admission
Join the Facebook event

A screening of Jack Kevorkian’s public access television program The Door (30 min); presented by Anna Della Subin
A screening of Shridhar Bapat’s video feedback fantasia Aleph Null (12 min, 1971); presented by Alexander Keefe
Sex talk and group consciousness exercises;presented by Conner Habib
Plus: Transcendental listening in the dome

Jack Kevorkian
Dr. Jack Kevorkian — also known as Dr. Death — was a pathologist, euthanasia activist, poet, composer and instrumentalist. In Bidoun #27 (Diaspora), Anna Della Subin told the profoundly strange story of this child of genocide survivors through his curiously compelling paintings. Here, Subin will introduce_ The Door_, a public access TV show on the nature of consciousness and some “very hazy realms of human existence,” which Kevorkian produced, wrote, and hosted in California in the early 1980s.

Shridhar Bapat
In the late 1960s Shridhar Bapat was a key figure in the emerging video scene. The first video curator at The Kitchen in its most freewheeling period and the “finest feedback camera turner in New York City,” Bapat worked on the New York Avant Garde Festivals, the first Women’s Video Festival, Shirley Clarke’s TeePee Video Space Troupe, and many of Nam June Paik’s major installations before falling out of the scene to live underground; he died, homeless, in 1990. Alexander Keefe reconstructed Bapat’s story in Bidoun #27 (Diaspora). Keefe will be presenting a rare screening of Aleph Null, one of Bapat’s original video compositions — “all these mandalas going all over the place,” in Bapat’s words — created with Charles Phillips in 1971. First shown at the Whitney Museum’s 1971 “Video Tape Special,” Aleph Null was last screened at the Mudd Club in 1981.

Conner Habib
Conner Habib is a writer, philosopher, sex advice columnist, and gay porn star, based in San Francisco. An adherent of Rudolph Steiner’s Anthroposophy, Habib lectures on the Western esoteric tradition. He has been featured in such films as Man Up, Night Maneuvers, and Arabesque 2: From Tales of the Arabian Nights; his essay, “The Virtues of Being an Object,” appeared in Exploring the Edge Realms of Consciousness, edited by Daniel Pinchbeck & Ken Jordan. Anna Della Subin’s conversation with Habib is forthcoming in Bidoun #28 (Interviews).

The Bidoun Library in Cyprus

The Bidoun Library at the Serpentine Gallery, London

December 15, 2012 — February 15, 2013
Point Centre for Contemporary Art
Megaron Hadjisavva,
2, Evagorou Street,
1057, Nicosia, Cyprus

For this Cypriot iteration of the Bidoun Library, we are presenting a thematic version of the Library built around espionage, the legacies of state-sponsored publishing, and the cultural Cold War. A site-specific subsection will be built around the assassination of the Egyptian writer Yussef el Sebai — himself the General Secretary of the Afro-Asian Peoples’ Solidarity Movement among many other roles — at the Hilton Hotel in Nicosia on February 18, 1978.

More on the Bidoun Library
The Point Centre for Contemporary Art website

Iranian-American B Movies at the V&A

Amir Shervan, Hollywood Cop, 1987

Friday Late: Record, Reframe, Resist
Friday November 30, 2012 from 6:30 – 10pm
Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL

This Friday evening at the V&A in London, as part of its ongoing investigation of lost and/or neglected cultural artifacts, Bidoun will be presenting a selection of trailers from the little known genre of Iranian-American “B Movies.” Produced mainly in Los Angeles in the years after the revolution, these resolutely un-canonical (and often un-watchable) low budget films feature mainly American casts with a few Iranian actors. They are the direct descendents of filmfarsi, the vernacular B Movie genre that dominated popular Iranian cinema before 1979, and which employed many of the same directors. Of course, with their new locale, language, and themes, much was lost in translation. These films — unlike their Iranian predecessors — have very limited potential for popular appeal.

And yet some of these films were exported to the Third World; others have become cult hits among pulp connoisseurs. Seen together, they shape a bizarre picture of what these diasporic directors once imagined the formula for a successful Hollywood action film to be — including confusing representations of self (ambiguous Middle Eastern villains, terrorists, and belly dancers in varying states of veiling) and hilariously outmoded and offensive representations of others (Arabs, Japanese, African Americans, women).

Watch trailer on youtube
Cat in the Cage
Tony Zarindast

Directed by Tony (Mohammad) Zarindast, this film stars the undisputed leading man of Iranian film, Behrouz Vossoughi, in his first non-Iranian production. Vossoughi, whose accent must have been too thick for American audiences, is the only actor in the film to have his voice dubbed. The film co-stars Playboy cover girl Sybil Danning (August 1983) and Samson the Cat.

Watch trailer on youtube
Treasure of the Lost Desert
Tony Zarindast

Another Zarindast film, this time starring himself as “Eagle,” a freedom fighter from an ahistorical Dubai who must defeat a heroic US Army Green Beret, “Claude Servan,” in order to reach the hidden desert booty he intends to barter for weapons…

Watch trailer on youtube
Hollywood Cop
Amir Shervan

The first American production from the legendary trash director Amir Shervan, Hollywood Cop was followed by Samurai Cop, Killing American Style, Gypsy, and Young Rebels. Peter (Petros) Palian, who produced Bidoun favorite An Esfehani in New York (1972), acted as Director of Photography on all of Shervan’s American films, as well as John S. Rad’s Dangerous Men.

Watch trailer on youtube
Terror in Beverly Hills
John Myhers

Produced by Moshe Bibiyan and written by his brother Simon, Terror in Beverly Hills also stars Behrouz Vossoughi, this time as a Palestinian terrorist who kidnaps the US President’s daughter. The opening sequence was shot on location in Jerusalem and Persianesque pseudo-Arabic sparkles throughout.

Watch trailer on youtube

Watch trailer on youtube
The Nuclear Baby and 1999
Jalal Fatemi

From the B Movie avant-garde comes Jalal Fatemi’s The Nuclear Baby, a surreal video feature about a pregnant woman navigating a post-nuclear war nation called “Caspiana” while being hunted by a dream terrorist. Although Iran is never named, the village doctor has all the familiar physical trappings of a filmfarsi jaheli character, and the remaining canned goods in this post-apocalyptic world seem to consist mostly of ghormeh sabzi mix and pickles.

The short film 1999 is built upon a conceptual framework of bowel-based imagery. A US Marine with digestive problems ponders his past and future while trapped in an oil refinery on the cusp of the new millennium and the discovery of an alternative fuel source.

Watch trailer on youtube
Dangerous Men
John S. Rad

It took John S. Rad, aka Jahangir Salehi Yeganehrad, about two decades to patch together Dangerous Men, which is frequently described as completely indescribable. The official tagline promises an unforgettable comedy suspense, mystery drama and Bret Berg of Los Angeles’ Cinefamily passionately crowns it “THE holiest of all holyfuckingshits.” In a 2006 interview with Rad, the director pondered the response of some audiences during the film’s theatrical run: “They laughed, screamed, clapped, and got up and sat down, almost with any scene. I was wondering, some scenes in my opinion were not funny to laugh at or be so excited.”

Book Week II: In Translation at Miguel Abreu Gallery

Book Week II: In Translation, with Collages by Raha Raissnia

Wednesday, October 24th – Sunday, November 4th, 2012
Miguel Abreu Gallery
36 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002

Bidoun is pleased to be participating in Book Week II: In Translation, with Collages by Raha Raissnia, presented by Miguel Abreu Gallery and Sequence Press. The gallery floor will be arranged as a bookshop and reading room with recent titles from mostly local publishers. In addition, selections will be on hand from the Lower East Side Heritage Collection, a unique archive of specialized, noncirculating books at the Seward Park branch of the New York Public Library. Participants include:

  • Archipelago
  • Bidoun
  • Dalkey Archive Press
  • Halmos
  • New York Review Books
  • Open Letter Books
  • Seven Stories Press
  • Verso
  • New York Public Library’s Lower East Side Heritage Collection

See press release for more information

Michael Rakowitz & Robert Christgau in Conversation

Michael Rakowitz and Robert Christgau in conversation

Michael Rakowitz and Robert Christgau in conversation
+ Launch of the record Sabreen — Live in Jerusalem 2010
Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 7pm
Lombard Freid Gallery
518 West 19th Street
New York, NY 10011

Lombard Freid Gallery is pleased to present an evening with artist Michael Rakowitz and legendary rock critic Robert Christgau, discussing the breakup of The Beatles as history and as metaphor, inspired by Rakowitz’s “The Breakup"—a set of works that includes radio broadcasts, film, a live concert in Jerusalem, memorabilia, and a deluxe limited edition LP produced in conjunction with Bidoun Projects.

The evening will be hosted by Sukhdev Sandhu, director of the Colloquium for Unpopular Culture at New York University and author of the lead essay in the liner notes for Live In Jerusalem 2010, which will be on sale at the event and from Bidoun.

Michael Rakowitz’s “The Breakup” was originally commissioned for The Jerusalem Show IV by Al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem.

The 45min video of The Breakup will screen at 6pm.

Longtime Village Voice writer-editor Robert Christgau has covered popular music for many publications, including Esquire, Newsday, Creem, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and Blender. His ” Rock & Roll &“ column appears monthly in the Barnes and Noble Review and his ” Expert Witness“ blog twice weekly at Michael Rakowitz is an artist based in Chicago and New York City. His work has appeared in venues worldwide including P.S. 1, the Museum of Modern Art, MassMOCA, Tate Modern, the 10th Istanbul Biennial, Sharjah Biennial 8, Asian Art Biennial, and, most recently, dOCUMENTA (13) . His work is in many private and public collections including MoMA, UNESCO in Paris, and the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago.

Bidoun at Frieze London

Tehran Guide

Frieze London
October 11-14, 2012
Regent’s Park

Find our booth at the Frieze Art Fair and check out our latest issue, subscribe, or pick up our limited edition Tehran City Guide, with very Bidounish advice about where to go and (mostly) where to eat in Iran’s capital.

Tehran City Guide
Two color risograph
Numbered edition of 100