Taraneh Hemami, Free, 2011. Neon and mirrored and translucent vinyl on glass, 27 x 54 ft.

Taraneh Hemami

San Francisco

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Taraneh Hemami’s elegant window installation at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts translated a contentious season of contemporary politics into a dazzling and contemplative work. An enormous radiating star of laser-cut patterning filled the window with the ebullient celebration of the Arab Spring. A neon sign at the center enclosed delicate Arabic script (in yellow) within a ring formed by the repeated English word, “Free” (in blinking blue). Hemami describes this movement as a chant—Free, Free, Free—echoing the message of demonstrators throughout the Middle East. For those who could read it, the Arabic text was legible from the outside looking in; the English text, in reverse, was legible from the inside looking out. The English-speaking world was the implied insider, while the Arab-speaking world remained excluded, outside gazing in…see the entire review in the print version of June’s Sculpture magazine.