Murtaza Vali writes about emerging and mid-career artists of color, as well as older, forgotten artists. His recent publications include exhibition reviews of Siah Armajani, Leslie Hewitt, Raqs Media Collective, and Hassan Sharif, and essays including “Bringin’ Bapu Back!,” which suggests that a critical art practice might emerge from Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy if artists would forgo Gandhi’s iconic image and instead engage with his actions as models for performance and community-based art projects. Vali will examine how contemporary artists who address identity politics resort to ghostly figures and means, using absence as a strategy to articulate a political position that demands visibility and presence.
Murtaza Vali is a Brooklyn-based writer, art historian, and curator. An independent critic since 2005, his reviews, essays, profiles, and interviews have appeared regularly inArtforum.com, ArtReview, Art India, Bidoun Magazine, and ArtAsiaPacific, where he is contributing editor and was coeditor of their 2007 and 2008 Almanac, a year-end review of contemporary art across Asia. He has written essays for nonprofits and galleries around the world, most notably for monographs on Emily Jacir, Reena Saini Kallat, and Laleh Khorramian. He has been a visiting critic at Yale’s School of Art and Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning. As winner of the Winter 2010 Lori Ledis Curatorial Fellowship, Vali curated Accented at Brooklyn’s BRIC Rotunda Gallery (2010) and recently edited Manual for Treason, a multilingual publication commissioned by Sharjah Biennial X (2011). He holds an MA in art history and archeology from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts.