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But Rakowitz - fortunately - viewed the whole enterprise as a work of art.
"I view my projects as performing a necessary disturbance or jolt in everyday experience that will, maybe, slowly change our relationship to a crisis or a problem," he said.
Many signed up to purchase dates once - make that if - they arrived.
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Research showed him sanctions against Iraq were lifted in May 2003, making importing directly from Iraq legal. He put out a query on the Baghdad Business Center Web site, and met the general manager of Al Farez Co., who was willing to sell - and ship - one ton of dates from Iraq to America. 6, the date of Rakowitz's storefront opening reception - a gathering of well-heeled artists that resembled a Chelsea art gallery opening - the ton of dates was en route to Amman, Jordan.
But few Americans have ever tasted them due to three decades of sanctions and embargoes that have made obtaining most goods from Iraq nearly impossible.The dates and their driver waited in line for four days.Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, Rakowitz's white-walled storefront was buzzing.ELLEgirl Magazine for teens with a passion for fashion, beauty and entertainment.Meet and chat with other girls from around the world. Covers social issues, technology, pop culture, sports, and entertainment.
Attendees of reception drank wine and sampled Californian dates as a surrogate for the Iraqi ones that had not yet arrived.