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Artist Michael Rakowitz ’95 at Art Basel 2018

Rakowitz recreates rooms and artifacts destroyed by war in Iraq using convenience food packaging.

Room N, Northwest Palace of Nimrud (2018) is the latest piece in the series, The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist, in which Michael Rakowitz ’95 uses Middle Eastern convenience food packages sold in the US to recreate artifacts lost to the ravages of war in Iraq.

Created for the Unlimited sector of Art Basel 2018 in Basel, this latest work features reproductions of reliefs from the Assyrian Palace of Nimrud destroyed by the Caliphate in 2016.

“Since 2007, the Chicago-based artist has been painstakingly recreating these lost artworks one at a time, using the packaging of Middle Eastern convenience food available in the US. Following Isis’s offensive in Iraq, he began to use the same technique to remake objects from the archeological sites the Islamists destroyed, the banality of the wrappers mapping a contemporary Iraqi experience in stark contrast with the one broadcast by mainstream media.”   —

Discover more about this work by Michael Rakowitz at