- Manal Abu-Shaheen
- Vahap Avşar
- Jesus Benavente and Felipe Castelblanco
- Brian Caverly
- Kerry Downey
- Magali Duzant
- Golnaz Esmaili
- Mohammed Fayaz
- Kate Gilmore
- Jonah Groeneboer
- Bang Geul Han and Minna Pöllänen
- Dave Hardy
- Sylvia Hardy
- Shadi Harouni
- Janks Archive
- Robin Kang
- Kristin Lucas
- Carl Marin
- Eileen Maxson
- Melanie McLain
- Shane Mecklenburger
- Lawrence Mesich
- Freya Powell
- Xiaoshi Vivian Vivian Qin
- Alan Ruiz
- Samita Sinha and Brian Chase
- Barb Smith
- Monika Sziladi
- Alina Tenser
- Trans-Pecos with 8 Ball Community, E.S.P. TV, and Chillin Island
- Mark Tribe
- Sam Vernon
- Max Warsh
- Jennifer Williams
- An Itinerary with Notes
- Exhibition Views
- A Distant Memory Being Recalled (Queens Teens Respond)
- Overhead: A Response to Kerry Downey’s Fishing with Angela
- Sweat, Leaks, Holes: Crossing the Threshold
- PULSE: On Jonah Groeneboer’s The Potential in Waves Colliding
- Interview: Melanie McLain and Alina Tenser
- Personal Space
- Data, the Social Being, and the Social Network
- Responses from Mechanical Turk
- MAPS, DNA, AND SPAM
- Queens Internacional 2016
- Uneven Development: On Beirut and Plein Air
- A Crisis of Context
- Return to Sender
- Interview: Vahap Avşar and Shadi Harouni
- Mining Through History: The Contemporary Practices of Vahap Avşar and Shadi Harouni
- A Conversation with Shadi Harouni's The Lightest of Stones
- Directions to a Gravel Quarry
- Walk This Way
- Interview: Brian Caverly and Barb Smith
- "I drew the one that has the teeth marks..."
- BEAT IT! (Queens Teens respond)
- Lawn Furniture
- In Between Difference, Repetition, and Original Use
- Interview: Dave Hardy and Max Warsh
- Again—and again: on the recent work of Alan Ruiz
- City of Tomorrow
- Noticing This Space
- NO PLACE FOR A MAP
- The History of the World Was with Me That Night
- What You Don't See (Queens Teens Respond)
- Interview: Allison Davis and Sam Vernon
- When You’re Smiling…The Many Faces Behind the Mask
- Interview: Jesus Benavente and Carl Marin
- The Eternal Insult
- Janking Off
- Queens Theatricality
Before reaching the Queens Museum, she pedaled through Seneca, Penelope, Ithaca—all streets on which people sat on stools and cooled off in overflowing , inflated plastic pools. Her legs sore, she removed her headphones and locked her bike next to the Unisphere, a monumental steel globe built in 1964 that she had seen only in photographs, and which stood for “Women’s achievements on a shrinking globe in an expanding universe.”
Scattered visitors roamed about the central gallery; some sat on the steps leading in. She asked the man at the front desk if her group had arrived. “She” was an occasional museum guide. Her job was to make art exist in words. “Your tour begins in 20 minutes,” the man said, adjusting his silver-rimmed spectacles while handing her the Queens International 2016 booklet. She read, “Queens International 2016 looks to the idea of thresholds”, and shut the brochure.
She walked on, her gaze downcast to avoid wall texts, captions, descriptions. A horizontal base with different volumes and elevations displayed found and fabricated objects. “A museum without labels,” she thought, a collection of objects abandoned for display: a tie-dyed maroon gauze, an unfinished reed basket, various rock formations, memory foam, a small city carved in wood. She liked it, tried getting closer, transgressing the tape separating the artwork from the audience as if dipping her foot in water before taking the plunge. A guard asked her to step back. She considered ignoring him. She wondered if the hand cast in the memory foam had belonged to a museum visitor, a trespasser.
Facing the sculpture, a mother and her son were both peeking inside a large wooden crate. She crouched next to them. Inside, a miniature rendition of an artist studio located in Queens.
“¿Por qué es tan chiquito?” the boy asked the mother.
“No sé, mami. Tenemos que leer,” the mother replied.
“You know what it means?” the mother then asked her.
“I don’t,” she replied, handing the mother the brochure.
Her group was waiting outside, by the front desk. Lingering in the exhibition space, she decided to ignore it, to stop talking about artworks. Abandoning the group felt like trespassing her own self—an exhilarating sensation. She carried on, feeling gravity in each step she took.
To her left, she noticed black-and-white photographs of a city she once lived in. In Beirut, too, walking required vigilance. The city had no sidewalks, no tape to protect its few pedestrians from itself. She gazed at the photographs, indulging in their familiar landscape, remembering the panic in her limbs and the determination she had to summon in order to cross a street. She paused here. On one of the photographs, a gigantic Johnnie Walker banner covered the façade of a building. The ad said, “Keep Walking” with the brand’s striding man walking past a broken bridge. She walked on, oblivious of her group, beyond the mother and the boy, away from the guard, deeper into the exhibition, past the idea of thresholds.
Mirene Arsanios is a writer born in Beirut. Her work has appeared in The Animated Reader, The Outpost, The Rumpus, and The Brooklyn Rail, among others. She is the author of the short-story collection, The City Outside the Sentence (Ashkal Alwan, 2015), and the founding editor of the bilingual magazine, Makhzin. www.makhzin.org.