Matt Alexander Hanson is a writer in Istanbul. He produces weekly and monthly features from across Turkey, Europe, the Middle East and the U.S., covering art, books, history, travel, and food. His work with various international newspapers and magazines is translated into Turkish, Arabic, Hebrew and Ladino for El Amaneser, the last publication in the world entirely in the endangered Judeo-Spanish dialect.
Novelist in the Museum: Christine Coulson Fictionalizes The Met
In her debut novel Metropolitan Stories, Christine Coulson writes about the Met, exposes the marrow in the museological skeleton, conveys physical and mental states, and allows us to visit behind the scenes of the museum.
The Critic as a Poet: On the Art Writing of Peter Schjeldahl
A new essay in a series of reviews of books about art writing by Matt Hanson. This time, we delve into the writings of the New Yorker’s senior art critic, Peter Schjeldahl, who "thought of prehistoric cave paintings as contemporary an art as the latest politically-allied video installation in midtown Manhattan."
The Lights of Migration: A Different Take on Old Paris
At the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the collection show “Chagall, Picasso, Mondrian, and Others: Migrant Artists in Paris” polished the art history of a century past with a gleaming, political immediacy. Matt Hanson reviews the show and its curatorial take on themes of increasing global concern.
The Crisis of Reason: A Conversation with Kader Attia
In this age of crisis of reason, is repair possible? Matt Hanson speaks to renowned French-Algerian artist Kader Attia about his recent works, about "La Colonie" - a decolonization space that the artist runs in Paris, and Attia's reading recommendation for self-isolation.
The Art of Art Writing
“What it Means to Write About Art features conversations with writers who average three decades of experience turning phrases that go to press with a bold, uninhibited passion for art.” Matt Hanson reviews Jarrett Earnest’s recent book, a collection of interviews with prominent art writers such as Jerry Saltz, Roberta Smith, Lucy Lippard, Rosalind Krauss, and Yve Alain Bois.
Freeing the Child Soldiers of Salva Kiir
Among many tragic examples, the murder of South Sudanese national, Lost Boy and Canadian citizen Richard Lokeya, and the abduction of journalist Clement Lochio Lomornana (whose whereabouts are still unknown) by state actors, testify to the life-threatening risks implied in refugee justice work in South Sudan today.
The Middle East Film Initiative: A Conversation with Ruth Priscilla Kirstein
“It’s often Terrorist 1, Terrorist 2, Terrorist 3, and for women it’s even worse.” Matt Hanson talks to Dr. Ruth Priscilla Kirstein, the founder of The Middle East Film Initiative in NYC, about discriminatory practices towards and lack of representation of Middle Eastern cultural practitioners, and about some new community-based methods offered by MEFI for addressing them.
Emergency Takeoff: on Halil Altindere’s Köfte Airlines
"Köfte Airlines retraced a trail uncannily similar to that of its subject, from Germany to Turkey and back along a zigzag of uprooted expectations." Matt Hanson writes about Halil Altindere's work in the context of the refugee crisis, as well as the effects of the current oppressive political climate in Turkey on artists and cultural practitioners.
Kings of Arabia
Visiting the Ameen Rihani Museum in Freike, Lebanon has started Matt Hanson on a path to trace the Hebrew translation of the well-known author’s Kings of Arabia, which came out only two years after the first Arabic edition. What were the motivations behind this translation and how did its impact evolve over the years?