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Archive for the ‘Lebanese’ Category

Beirut finally has a permanent, non-commercial arts centre

Posted by artradar on March 24, 2009


 ART SPACE LEBANON

 

Beirut Art Center

Beirut Art Center

The Lebanese capital hosts one of the most vibrant and celebrated contemporary art scenes in the Middle East, reports Kaelen Wilson-Goldie in an article for The National.

L’Agenda Culturel, Beirut’s biweekly listings guide to cultural happenings in and around the city, routinely fills its pages with enough events to keep art lovers active every night of the week.

Until now the city has not had a non-commercial art space but the new Beirut Art Centre fills that gap and significant repercussions are expected to result. 

Five years in the making, the Beirut Art Centre is the first sign of a potentially major shift in how artist, curators and cultural organisers function in Beirut.

Even though Beirut possesses a critical mass of creative figures, the contemporary art scene has operated for 15 years as a hyper-flexible, ever-malleable system with precious few brick and mortar spaces to call its own. The city boasts no modern or contemporary art museum. You can count its commercial art galleries on two hands (the good ones, on one). And the Lebanese government allocates little to no money for the arts.

The lack of state support has had benefits though

In fact, Beirut’s cultural vitality may be a by-product of Lebanon’s weakness as a state: censorship is arbitrary at best, and the city has long been a laboratory for free experimentation in politics as in art. The city’s contemporary art scene may be defined by a lack of official infrastructure more than anything else (for this reason, some refer to Beirut as a post-museum city). 

Beirut’s contemporary art scene is therefore ephemeral by definition and design; one cannot pin its energy to any specific sites. It materialises in bursts of activity: here today, gone tomorrow, back in a few weeks. All of it is documented in catalogues and archival videos. But aside from some rather high-minded graffiti, it makes few physical impressions on the city itself.

That might not be the case a year from now, and not just because of the Beirut Art Center.

Ashkal Alwan, which is directed by the curator Christine Tohme, is planning to open a permanent space – with studios, a library and a multimedia theatre – in seven or eight months time. Its primary functions will be to host Beirut’s first contemporary art academy and to give Ashkal Alwan’s annual Home Works Forum, until now a peripatetic event, a home.

At the same time, Lebanon’s Ministry of Culture is currently conducting an international architectural competition for Dar Bayrut, a centre for art and culture to be built in the downtown district with a $20 million gift from the Sultanate of Oman (it came just after Lebanon’s 2006 war). As such, Beirut may not be a post-museum city, but rather a city just beginning to experiment with different museum models.

Read more about how the Beirut Art Center came into existence and a review of its inaugural exhibiton ‘Closer’ which runs to April 2 2009 in the full article in The National 

The show features an impressive line-up of artists: Jananne Al-Ani, Tony Chakar, Antoine D’Agata, Mona Hatoum, Emily Jacir, Jil Magid, Anri Sala, Lina Saneh, Lisa Steele, Akram Zaatari, Cynthia Zaven.

Related links: Beirut Art Center

Related categories: Middle East reports, art spaces

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Posted in Art spaces, Lebanese, Middle Eastern, Museum shows, Museums | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review round up – Saatchi Middle East art show Unveiled – which artists are critic favourites?

Posted by artradar on February 26, 2009


Kader Attia, Ghost, Installation

Kader Attia, Ghost, Installation

 

 

SAATCHI MIDDLE EAST ART SHOW

Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East, Saatchi Gallery, London to 6 May 2009

Advertising mogul and art patron Saatchi is a master at generating extensive high profile media coverage for his shows giving us an uncommon opportunity to synthesise the critics’ views of individual Middle Eastern artists and the show overall.  Here are the highlights:

  • critics were kind: Saatchi is “back on form” in a show which is “impressive” , “extraordinarily good”
  • Tala Madani received rave reviews: “I haven’t come across a young artist this original witty and talented in twenty years”
  • Kader Attia’s installation Ghost was the show stopper artwork for most critics
  • painting section of the show was weaker than works in other media
  • sculpture and installations garnered most critical attention receiving mixed reviews
  • varying views were expressed about the success of the organisers’  claim to overturn the cliched idea that the Middle East is synonymous with violence and intolerance   

Ranking of artists by number of  mentions (positive or neutral unless stated)

  1. Kader Attia – (5) – Independent, Reuters, Telegraph, Standard (thumbs down), Bloomberg
  2. Tala Madani – (5) – Time Out, Independent, Guardian/Observer, Telegraph, Standard
  3. Marwan Rechmaoui – (4) – Time Out, Independent, Guardian/Observer, Standard
  4. Sara Rahbar – (3) – Time Out, Independent, Reuters
  5. Rokni Haerizadeh – (3) – Reuters, LA Times, Standard
  6. Ramin Haerizadeh – (3) – Guardian/Observer, LA Times, Telegraph
  7. Wafa Hourani – (3) – Time Out, LA Times, Standard
  8. Ahmed Alsoudani – (3) – Time Out, Standard, Independent
  9. Halim al-Karim – (3) Reuters, Telegraph, Standard (thumbs down)
  10. Shirin Fakhim’s – (3) Reuters, Telegraph, Bloomberg
  11. Diana Al-Hadid – (2) Time Out, Telegraph
  12. Shadi Ghadirian – (1) Bloomberg
  13. Hayv Kahraman – (1) Independent

 

‘Unveiled: New Art From the Middle East’ at London’s Saatchi Gallery – LA Times – Henry Chu – Feb 11 2009

The usual Middle East-related topics of religion and war are not to be seen in this exhibition which is instead dominated by themes of sexuality, gender and religion says Chu. His story focuses on the struggles of the artists with censorship and the threat of officialbacklash. Despite this a thriving art scene is developing in some cities and – surprisingly – Tehran now has over 100 commercial galleries. Artists mentioned include the Haerizadeh brothers Rokni and Ramin (Men of Allah) and Palestinian Wafa Hourani’s whose  Qalandia 2067 is a ‘striking’ small-scale model of a refugee camp half a century in the future.

Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East at the Saatchi Gallery Telegraph– Richard Dorment – Feb 4 2009

Dorment pooh-poohs the ‘sunny’ assertion by Lisa Farjam in the exhibition catalogue that it is a cliche to associate the Middle East with political oppression, religious intolerance and terrorism. He ‘profoundly disagrees’ saying this show is replete with references to bombs, religious police and the denigration of women. The most ‘remarkable’ artists are Kader Attia, Halim Al-Karim (Hidden War)  and Diana Al-Hadid (Tower of Infinite Problems) because their work transcends the political. However Dorment finds himself most interested in some of the other artists. Ramin Haerizadeh’s strutting pouting Men of Allahis not the strongest work he says but one of the bravest and suggests the psychosexual motivation of fundamentalism. He mentions work by Shirin Fakhim and refers to Tala Madani (Tower Reflections) ” I haven’t come across a young artist this original witty or talented in 20 years”. Despite the weakness of the painted works, overall the show is much stronger for being ‘less slick and commercial’ than its predecessor, a show of Chinese art.

Unveiled: New Art From The Middle East – Time Out– Ossian Ward – Feb 3 2009

Saatchi has no truck with the high-minded concerns of the academics and curators which is a good thing says Ossian Ward. It means he does not try to provide an explanation  for his unapologetic grouping of artists who come from lands which are bewildering in their diversity. 

“The sculptural works shine but the paintings disappoint” as does some of the works which border on “gross-out territory” reminiscent of YBA (Young British Artists). Artists discussed include Marwan Rechmaoui (Spectre), Diana Al-Hadid, Wafa Hourani, Ahmed Alsoudani and Tala Madani. 

Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East, Saatchi Gallery, LondonIndependent– Charles Darwent – Feb 1 2009

An ‘impressive’ and ‘extraordinarily good’ show says Darwent in which the united and divided cultures of the West and Middle East are laid bare. Rich with historical and art references, Darwent gives thoughtful reviews of works by Sara Rahbar, Hayv Kahraman, Ahmed Alsoudani, Tala Madani, Kader Attia, and Marwan Rechamoui. Sara Rahbar’s work  Flag #19 is singled out.

Noting the interplay of West and Middle East evident across the works, Darwent comments that thartists are Middle Eastern but ‘not quite’  and in fact only 11 of the 19 – and only 2 of the 7 women – artists now live  in the region.

The veil is lifted on hidden talent Guardian/Observer – Laura Cumming – Feb 1 2009

At its best says Cumming this ‘candid collection from the Islamic world is inventive and truly fearless’ though some of the work is a ‘shambolic hybrid of eastern content and western style’ which ‘plays hard to the international art fair and biennale market’. But no matter there are some independent minds: among them are Ramin Haerizadeh- whose satirical sexually-charged photo works are ‘gleefully savage’ – Marwan Rechmanoui and the ‘prodigiously gifted’ and ‘original’  Tala Madani (Holy Light, Elastic Pink). Overall says Cummings it is amazing how far into politics this art goes and points out that the publicity shot of TalaMadini has been treated to conceal her identity despite making her home in Amsterdam.

 Subversive Beauty in UnveiledStandard (This is London) – Ben Lewis – Jan 30 2009

London’s great art entrepreneur is back on form says Lewis and the works by artists from Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq are “thrillingly topical and often brilliantly executed”. There is an excitement in seeing politics through the language of contemporary art rather than the familiar TV images. Highlights are paintings by 3 artists Ahmed Alsoudani, Rokni Haerizadeh and Tala Madani. Marwan Richmaoui and Wafa Hourani are mentioned. Kader Attia is slammed for being “excessively shiny and large” and Halim Al-Karim is also given a thumbs down.

Saatchi show unveils vibrant Middle East art sceneReuters– Mike Collett-White – Jan 29 2009

This provocative show will test the tolerance of some says Collett-White in a rare opinion at the beginning of this facts-dominated piece covering the inspiration for the show. The recent unrecognised flourishing of artistic communities in Tehran and Beirut is the rationale for the show explains Rebecca Wilson head of development for Saatchi. Apart from French-Algerian Kader Attia and his ‘striking’ piece (Ghost), other artists mentioned include Rokni Haerizadeh (Typical Iranian Wedding, Beach at the Caspian), Halim al-Karim (Hidden Prisoner 1993), Shirin Fakhim’s work about prostitutes incorporating kitchen utensils and Sara Rahbar.

 Saatchi shows veiled women made of foil, Iran sex-worker dollsBloomberg– Martin Gayford – Jan 29 2009

Full of “brash, sometimes shocking Saatchi-type art” this is clearly a display of one man’s tastes and there is nothing wrong with that says Martin Gayford. Saatchi has a propensity for figurative art “though frankly none of it is that exciting” but it is the sculptures and installations that grab attention and Kadia Attia’s Ghost is a show-stopper. Other artists address women’s issues too and Gayford highlights Shirin Fakhim (Tehran Prositutes) and Shadi Ghadirian’s photographs (Like Everyday Series).

Related links: Saatchi website

Related categories: Middle Eastern art, Iranian art, gender in art, political art, reports from London

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Posted in Collectors, Feminist art, Identity art, Iranian, Iraqi, Islamic art, Lebanese, London, Middle Eastern, Painting, Palestinian, Photography, Political, Prison, Religious art, Reviews, Saatchi, Sculpture, Shadi Ghadirian, Social, Syrian, UK, Women power | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Radar’s top four artist picks at Cairo International Biennal

Posted by artradar on December 29, 2008


ART BIENNIAL AFRICA EGYPT

The opening ceremony of the 11th Cairo International Biennale took place on 21 December 2008. Past versions of this state-organised biennial have been slammed by critics:

The 10th edition of the Cairo International Biennale could have very well been the 8th or 9th….(and)once again highlights the division that exists in the local art circuit between the establishment, namely state-sponsored arts institutions including that of the Biennale, and the private or so-called independent art sector. Moreover, like it’s predecessors, a clear lack of curatorial direction in the selection makes the range of works on exhibition seem disconnected from each other as well as from international contemporary art practices from which the Biennale organisers claim to be operating from within.

NAFAS art magazine

We will have to wait for all the reviews to come in before we can determine the consensus view of the 11th edition but, whatevever the outcome, there is interesting art to explore. Here are Radar’s favourites:

  • abdin2Adel Abidin (Iraq 1973) – film sculpture.  Now  lives in Helsinki. He has exhibited in the Venice Biennale and MOCA Taipei and has been featured in  international publications including Le Monde, Guardian, New York Times www.adelabidin.com

The principles of harmony and oneness are reflected in Kimsooja’s installation Lotus Zone of Zero, 2008, currently housed at Rotunda at Galerie Ravenstein in Brussels through January 18, 2009. The site specific installation consists of approximately 2000 lanterns shaped as lotus flowers. The visual is accompanied by sound in the form of Tibetan, Gregorian and Islamic chants that merge in the center of the space. Honoring a vision of peace, the work embodies the dance between individuality and universality, yin and yang, and a potential future for planet earth.

Evilmonito.com for featured artist review

Find below a complete list of artists from the Asian continent:

Azerbaijan: Adil Yusifov

Bahrain: Waheeda Malullah

Bangladesh: Firoz Mahmoud

China: Qiu Anxiong

Egypt: Adel Amien Al-Siwy, Arman Agoub Gubian, Essam Mohamed Maarouf, Hanafi Mahmoud Khalaf alla. Wael Kamal Wahby Fahmy Darwish

Iraq: Adel Abidin, Ali Assaf El-Gabry, Tamara Nouri

Japan : Haruko Yamashita

Hani Hourani
Hani Hourani

Jordan: Hani Hourani

Korea: Kimsooja

Kuwait: Shorouk Amin

Lebanon: Khaled Ramadan, Salwa Zeidan

Libya: Ali al-Abani

Palestine: Hani Zurob

Qatar: Salam Al-Malek, Youseff Ahmed

Saudi Arabia: Ahmed Mater Al-Ziad, Fahd al-Hijilan, Faisal Samra

Syria: Buthayna Ali, Sabhan Adam

Turkey: Gulsun Karamustafa

See:

More posts about Biennials, emerging artists, sculpture,

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Kimsooja Bottari Truck

Kimsooja Bottari Truck

Posted in Azerbaijani, Bahraini, Bangladeshi, Biennials, Chinese, Egyptian, Emerging artists, Events, Iraqi, Japanese, Jordanian, Korean, Kuwaiti, Lebanese, Libyan, Palestinian, Qatari, Saudi, Syrian, Turkish | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Third Guangzhou Triennial reviews and highlights – South China Morning Post, Shanghai Eye

Posted by artradar on October 6, 2008


TRIENNIAL GUANGZHOU CHINA

Art highlights, Chinese censorship and a list of Asian artists and curators.

Farewell to Post Colonialism, Third Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China: 6 September to 16 November 2008

Hong Kong based art critic John Batten in the South China Morning Post gives a thumbs up to the “mostly excellent” art at the Third Guangzhou Triennial, an exhibition of over 300 works by 180 artists in Guangdong Musuem of Art, but is less enthusiastic about the “elaborate explanations” of the curators whose “theoretical notions should simply be ignored”. His thoughtful review discusses the work of Hong Kong artist Tozer Pak Sheung-chuen whose conceptual project Page 22 (Half Folded Library) consists of secretly folding page 22 in 15,500 books in the Ottendorfer Branch Public Library in New York. Other pieces Batten favours included ‘fascinating’ video works in The Tea Pavilion and Middle East Channel:

  • Corazon Amaya-Canete and Moira Zoitl’s collaborative work on foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong
  • Rania Stephan’s interviews with children in Lebanon
  • Tomoko Konoike’s manga video installation Knifer Forest
  • Archana Hande’s spoof of marriage and dating websites www dot arrange ur own marriage dot com

Shanghai-based blogger Shanghai Eye has less to say about the art  – “the strength of the triennial was its very interesting mix of international and local flavours” – and instead gives a hilarious account of the washout “anarchic opening press conference” and the antics of the Chinese censors. “Cultural bureau officials descended en masse the day before the show opened, offended by a preview which appeared in the local newspaper “Southern Weekend.” The curators and museum director said this was par for the course, and after some negotiation a work by Zhu Yu, a discourse entitled “192 proposals for members of the united Nations” had some of the texts blurred. “If you squinted you could still read the text, so I didn’t quite see the point,” said Nigel Prince, a visiting curator from Ikon gallery in the UK.”

 

Asian artists:

(Group) Lin and Lam, Hui ZHANG, Wei LIU(b.1972 China), Gang ZHAO ( b.1954 China), Sopawan BOONNIMITRA, Corazon AMAYA-CANETE (Philippines), Jaishri ABICHANDANI, Haegue YANG(b.1971), Doris Waiyin WONG, Masahiro WADA, Nana Seo EUNA, Arin RUNGJANG, Warren Chiwo LEUNG, Kit LEE, Michael Honghwee LEE, Ade Darmawan, Sreshta PREMNATH, Jeuno KIM, Jesal KAPADIA, Apichatpong WEERASETHAKUL, Minleong CHAI, Matyn SEE, Riri RIZA, Amir MUHAMMAD, Chihyin LIN, Minjie ZHONG, Anding ZHANG, Yan MA, Tao JIANG, Kaiyu XIAO, Yin WANG(王音 b.1964), Qin QI, Xiaodong LIU, Jianyu DUAN, Yi ZHOU( b.1961), Duanxiang ZHENG, Fang YE, Jiechang YANG( b.1956), Zhen XU( b.1977), Junyong WU, Jiahao WANG( b.1975), Kaisyng TAN( b.1975), Muchen, Yinong SHAO(b.1961 China), Dalkh OCHIR, Jun NGUYEN-HATSUSHIBA, Huma MULJI, Heungshing LIU, Simon LEUNG, Kesang LAMDARK, Tomoko KONOIKE (Japan), Jitish KALLAT (India), Aili JIA, Xiaopeng HUANG, Archana HANDE, Soonmin YONG, Ran CHENG, Hamra ABBAS, Yu ZHU( b.1970), Shanzhuan WU, Jianwei WANG, Inga Svala THORSDITTIR, Shiming QIU, Anxiong QIU( b.1972), Tozer Sheungchuen PAK, KOOSIL-JA, Yongping HUANG, Ping LUO, Xiangcheng HU, Emily CHENG, Tong CHEN, Guogu ZHENG(b.1970), Bo ZHENG, Yuxing WU( b.1976), Weili YEH, Fudong YANG( b.1971), Total Art Group, Zhijie QIU( b.1969), Bundith PHUNSOMBATLERT, T. Minh Ha TRINH, Xiong XIAO, Jie LU, Dahong LIU, Mengbo FENG, Amy CHEUNG, Chiehjen CHEN, Dalia Al-Kury (Jordan), Yasmina Ben Ari (Egypt), Mireille AstorE (Libanon), Reem Bader (Jordan), Kaya Behkalam (Iran), Alia El Bialy (Egypt), Hisham Bizri (Libanon), Shahram Entekhabi (Iran), Lamia Joreige (Libanon), Khaled Kafez (Egypt),  Nadine Khan (Egypt),
Shula Lipski (Libanon), Waheeda Malullah (Bahrain), WaëL Noureddine (Libanon), Ayman Ramadana (Egypt), Hamed Sahihi (Iran), Larissa Sansour ( Palestine / USA), Akram Zaatari (Libanon), Rania Stephan (Libanon),

Curators: Sarat MAHARAJ, Shiming GAO (b.1976), Johnson Tsongzung CHANG

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Iranian artists dominate Saatchi’s upcoming Middle Eastern exhibition

Posted by artradar on September 29, 2008


 

Sara Rahbar Flag 19 Mixed media

Sara Rahbar Flag 19 Mixed media

ACQUISITIONS MIDDLE EASTERN ART

As financial markets roil , art collectors seeking a safe haven eye up opportunities in the Middle East. If anything, some players expect an even stronger market in the Middle East than in China, because so many of the art initiatives-to showcase the region’s artists as well as import Western art-have the direct backing of the government or royal families. Abu Dhabi is planning to spend $50 million to fill its Louvre.  

While galleries are increasingly showing Middle Eastern contemporary art, especially in London, it is still uncommon in Western collections says Conde Nast’s Portfolio. Most of the artists are unknown outside of the Middle East.

That could be about to change as British art collector and marketing guru Charles Saatchi makes his interest in Middle Eastern art known. A recent addition to his planned exhibiton list is Out of Arabia: New Art and New Perspectives in which he showcases artists from Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and predominantly Iran.

At time of writing artists include:

  • Iran: Sara Rahbar, Tala Madani, Laleh Khorramian, Rokni Haerizadeh, Ramin Haerizadeh, Ali Banisadr
  • Lebanon: Jeffar Khaldi
  • Iraqi: Halim Al-Karim, Ahmed Alsoudani
  • Syria: Diana Al-Hadid

For most recent list of artists, bios and images visit Saatchi online , latest news on Middle Eastern art, Islamic art, thread art, feminist art, identity art.

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Posted in Acquisitions, Collectors, Galleries, Gallery shows, Identity art, Individual, Iranian, Iraqi, Islamic art, Lebanese, Painting, Surveys, Syrian, Thread, West Asian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Five emerging artists from the Middle East – Saatchi Online

Posted by artradar on August 28, 2008


EMERGING ARTISTS MIDDLE EAST

Saatchi Online magazine showcases five up and coming artists from the Middle East.

Nadine Kanso

Nadine Kanso

 

 

 

Nadine Kanso

Lebanese collage artist Nadine Kanso has her second solo show in B21 comprising 20 mostly monochromatic works. She explains “I work a lot on socio-political messages, such as combining fashion and a photo of less fortunate people and someone like G.W Bush”.  “Collage is a special form of art, especially if it is done in a funky way, where it is loud and bold,” says Kanso.

Hayv Kahrman

The twenty-seven year old Iraqi artist, who shows a series of drawings at Dubai’s The Third Line gallery, gathers inspiration from traditional Japanese prints, art nouveau, Persian miniature painting and fashion imagery. Describing her references, she says, “One of my major inspirations is avant-garde fashion photography. And I try to be ‘current’ with the designs etc. My pieces may have an ancient or historical background, but I like to have them be related to today, with the usage and implementations from contemporary art and design.”

Laleh Khorramian

Tehran-born and New York-based, this artist produces mixed media works in which visual references from her homeland are combined with influences from Western art history, opera, pop culture, Disney and her personal experiences. Khorramian says, “I don’t think of myself as fitting in with the Middle Eastern art scene.” Khorramian explains by email from her Brooklyn studio, “My work is not overtly about political topics, regional issues or my issues with being Middle Eastern. I think my work is about broader events and the universal forces of love, death and creation. ”

'Funfair Self Portrait Paris 2005' Gelatin Silver Print

Youssef Nabil:

 

 

 

Youssef Nabil

Egyptian-born and New York-based photographer Youssef Nabil’s makes hand-painted images with old film-star glamour. Nabil, who has shot Tracey Emin, Nan Goldin, David Lynch, Louise Bourgeois and Kate Moss, often bathes his subjects in buttery gold light and thereby declares his work as a product of the region.

Hilda Hiary

The thirty-nine year old Jordanian-born and Dubai-based artist has had paintings collected by Queen Rania and Queen Nour, along with members of the Italian Parliament and significant museum curators. Hiary maintains that the roots of her abstract art are firmly in the region where she is represented by Dubai’s XVA Gallery “I believe abstract art  did not originate from the West, ” she asserts. “Even at the beginning of Islamic art, you can see that abstraction was a clear component. But what is really interesting in Middle Eastern art right now, is that we have many different schools and trends, all gaining attention at once.”

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Posted in Egyptian, Emerging artists, Iranian, Iraqi, Islamic art, Jordanian, Lebanese | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »