Take a moment to think about it, have you ever spoken with an Iraqi or Iraq vet? Addressing the fact that most of us have at least a few questions or curiosities about Iraq and that the country continues to feel foreign to even the most well-informed, "It Is What It Is: Conversations about Iraq," is a recent commission by Turner Prize-winning British artist Jeremy Deller. In conjunction with the New Museum and Creative Time as part of the Three M Project, the traveling exhibit encourages public discussion of the history, present circumstances and future of Iraq in an effort to bridge the gap between two countries that are geographically distant yet completely entwined politically and economically.
Deller's show consists of a group of Iraqi nationals, experts and witnesses that he invited to share the gallery with objects meant to stimulate discussions about Iraq with museum visitors. The most significant and physically imposing of the readymades is the rusty twisted remnant of a car that was destroyed in March 2007 by an explosion Al-Mutanabbi, a book market street and intellectual hub of Baghdad.
The thought-provoking installation is in its last week at New York's New Museum—it runs through 22 March 2009—so be sure to visit before the exhibit sets off across the U.S. Deller, along with two experts on Iraq and a writer, will board an RV on 24 March 2009, traveling from New York to L.A. with the scorched car remnant and other physical evidence of the war's brutality in tow.
The idea is to continue the informal discourse on a national level by stopping at a number of cultural institutions and community centers (like Walmart!), reaching out to people not necessarily involved in the art world.
Visit the It Is What It Is site to view a calendar of speakers at the New Museum, bios, the route across the U.S and other pertinent information.
More images after the jump.