If you're not nearly as schooled in Middle East literature or pulp as you should be, then this decade-spanning exhibition at the New Museum, "Museum as Hub: Bidoun Library Project," will give you a crash-course real fast. Arrayed on library shelves are pulp fiction next to pamphlets and everything in between, capturing iconic moments in Arab history—oil booms, the Dubai bust, and the Cold War, to name a few. The museum worked in association with Bidoun Magazine, a quarterly publication founded in '04 by Lisa Farjam, to fill the void in art and cultural coverage of the Middle East and its diaspora. The cool thing about the installation is that you can (with care) actually open, read, and browse the over 700 plus books—meaning at the end of the day, you can walk away with a head full of subjects as disparate as the hot pant, a sexy Sheik, or Black Muslims. Who needs Barnes & Nobles?
New Museum, 5th Floor, August 4-September 26, 2010, 235 Bowery (near Prince Street); 212-219-1222