On Sept. 5, 2001, the ruling Taliban militia raided the Afghanistan National Film Archive in Kabul and burned much of its contents in a fire that lasted two weeks. Most of the destroyed films were just prints, not original negatives. That information is provided at the end of Reel-Unreel (2011), a 20-minute film made by Belgian-born, Mexico City-based artist Francis Alÿs in collaboration with Julien Devaux and Ajmal Maiwandi for the Documenta 13 exhibition last summer in Kassel, Germany, and now on view at David Zwirner.
When Hurricane Sandy hit earlier this year, it delayed the opening of a Francis Alÿs show at David Zwirner. Thankfully, the gallery has repaired the space, and will present his work on Jan. 10. In this week’s New Yorker, Julie Belcove wanders around Manhattan with Mr. Alÿs as he looks for his doppelgänger. (Sort of a confusing thing: best to just read the story.) In the piece, the artist talks a bit about the strange, small paintings that he made in Afghanistan recently. Some were presented at Documenta 13 this summer in Kassel, Germany, and were at Zwirner when it flooded during the hurricane.