Michael Rakowitz

Michael Rakowitz: Dispute Between the Tamarisk and the Date Palm 


Michael Rakowitz’s first exhibition in Los Angeles brings together a selection of projects created over the last fifteen years. These works address recurrent themes within his practice: the legacies and precarity of cultural heritage, manifestations and trajectories of power, and the ways disparate things—people, art, music, and agriculture—wend complex paths across histories and geographies. While Rakowitz’s projects are imbued with deep political import, they also reveal the strange and poignant circumstances that grow out of spaces of cultural contact and conflict. 

Rakowitz’s projects focus on singular subjects as literal and symbolic embodiments of the history of Iraq, its diaspora, and the broader Middle East. His work engages both the distant past and more contemporary conditions engendered by regional and global conflicts marked in large part by the US invasion of Iraq in the early 2000s. Employing a diverse range of media, from video and sculpture to social gatherings and found objects, Rakowitz explores the effects of colonization, war, and diaspora on everyday objects and lives, as well as the broader tides of history. His engagement with his subjects, which in this exhibition include Saddam Hussein’s dishware, ancient Assyrian artifacts, and dates—a through line in his practice and to which the exhibition’s title makes reference— is both experimental and precise, illuminating the rich and often painful space where our personal and collective narratives intersect. 

Curated by Diana Nawi with Carmen Amengual, curatorial assistant. 

Michael Rakowitz is recipient of the 2018 Alpert Award in the Arts from the Herb Alpert Foundation. 

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