Urban Artist Nadim Karam Comes to Memphis College of Art


Contact: Cara Sievers
Director of College Communications

(901) 272-5111


Oct. 12, 2012

Archaic Procession by Nadim KaramArchaic Procession by Nadim Karam

Urban Artist Nadim Karam Comes to Memphis College of Art

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Artist and architect Nadim Karam is coming to Memphis College of Art on Oct. 25 as part of the college’s ongoing Visiting Artist Lecture Series. Karam’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. in the Callicott Auditorium (Rust Hall, Overton Park). During his stay, Karam also will speak at the dedication of the new Legacies sculpture by Vinnie Bagwell in Chickasaw Heritage Park. This event, administered by the UrbanArt Commission for the City of Memphis Percent-for-Art program, also is scheduled for Oct. 25, at 3 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public. Karam’s visit is sponsored in part by the UrbanArt Commission in celebration of the organization’s 15-year anniversary.

Nadim Karam is an architect, artist, academic and author who has created large-scale projects internationally, including in Melbourne, Australia; Prague; London; Tokyo; Kwangju, Korea; and in his home city of Beirut, Lebanon. At present, he is working on the “Wheels of Chicago” project in the United States, and exhibiting in Paris, France at the Arab Institute through February 2013. His early life and career were directly affected by the civil war in Lebanon, which lasted from 1975 to 1990. Karam left the country after winning a scholarship from the University of Tokyo in 1982 to pursue his master’s degree, where he graduated with a Ph.D. in architecture during his 10-year stay.

In 1992, Karam moved to Paris. Lacking funds and contacts, he became a rebel graffiti artist, painting hundreds of “archaic” figures on billboards, in the Metro and in his sketchbooks. One year later, he returned to his native city, Beirut. Between 1994 and 2000, he created three monumental temporary public art installations at the Nicolas Sursock Museum, the National Museum of Lebanon and in the Central District. After founding Atelier Hapsitus as an interdisciplinary forum for architecture, art and design in 1996, he also commenced work on architectural commissions. Karam also began teaching at Notre Dame University in Beirut, where he served as dean of faculty for the Architecture, Art and Design Department from 2000 through 2003.

“I discovered Nadim Karam’s work when researching the catalytic effect of public art on the revitalization of urban centers following a period of crisis. His humanist and poetic approach have been crucial to overcoming tremendous obstacles and preconceived notions in complex settings,” said Christina Lanzl, executive director of the UrbanArt Commission. “To me, he is the Phoenix of Beirut, whose efforts helped in ushering in that city’s cultural and economic revitalization. We very much look forward to sharing Nadim Karam’s unique perspective with Memphis students and the community at large.”

The American Institute of Architects published Lanzl’s essay on Nadim Karam in August, available online at http://www.architects.org/news/phoenix-beirut-nadim-karam%E2%80%99s-urban-interventions.

See more of Nadim Karam’s work at his website.

Memphis College of Art provides a rigorous curriculum in an intimate, diverse community to empower generations of leading artists, designers and educators to flourish professionally and contribute valuable ideas to society. The region’s only independent art and design college, MCA is fully accredited with expert, nationally renowned faculty and grants BFA, MFA, MA in Art Education and MA in Teaching degrees with graduates excelling in various careers across the country and internationally. For more information, visit mca.edu. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/memphiscollegeofart and on Twitter at @memphisart.


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