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Posts Tagged ‘Akram Zaatari’

Pockets of change in Asian art infrastructure – interview Leeza Ahmady director ACAW

Posted by artradar on May 12, 2009


ASIAN CONTEMPORARY ART WEEK NEW YORK 2009

Asian Contemporary Art Week director Leeza Ahmady talks about the ‘ incredible’ initiatives in India and Hong Kong which are helping to build an Asian art infrastructure, Indian collector Anupam Poddar’s first time purchase of art from Afghanistan and where to see exciting art from Central Asia, the Middle East and Iran at New York’s Asian Contemporary Art Week May 2009.

This is the second part of a 3 part interview

 

Gulnara Muratabek

Gulnara Muratbek

 

AR: If visitors to Asian Contemporary Art Week 2009 in New York want to learn more about Central Asia at Asia Contemporary Art Week, what can they see and where they can go?

LA: People can see some of the best artists from Central Asia and the Middle East at an exhibition titled: Tarjama/Translation I have co-curated with Iftikar Dadi and Reem Fada at Queen’s Museum produced by ArteEast. Many of them are internationally-renowned artists but for some reason they are not being exhibited in New York yet.

Akram Zaatari and Lara Baladi from Lebanon, Esra Ersen from Turkey and Sharif Wakid from Palestine are represented and Almagul Menlibayevaof Kazakhstan who is getting a lot of attention here in New York and now has a gallery representing her. We have specially commissioned a video work by her entitled “Queens”. It is an extraordinary work. Almagul has juxtaposed her signature style-using performance as a base revolving around ritual and the fantastic to captivate the Central Asian diasporas like the Bukharan Jews, the Samarkand Uzbeks and the Afghans living in Queens, New York.

Among the Iranian artists included in Tarjama/Translation, Farhad MoshiriI have heard is totally galvanising the art market which is very encouraging. Often these artists do well in the biennale or academic arenas but we do not see them in the market arena so there is a shift there as well.

There is a whole lot of fascination going on with Iran this year I have to tell you. Thomas Erben, one of the best galleries in my opinion for working with cutting edge artists from Pakistan and India, has just come back from Iran. So in honour of ACAW, he will be curating an exhibition of artists living and making art in Iran and he has been going through all kinds of hoops to get the work to New York. The Chelsea Museum is also organizing a large exhibition in June showcasing Iranian artists from the 60’s up to the present.

AR: What do you see in the future for Asian art? Will Asia continue to rely on Western art centres as a platform for international recognition or will it start to happen within Asia itself?

LA: The Western world is way ahead, years if not centuries, in having the institutions which help with not just showcasing but also maintaining, archiving and saving works of contemporary art. We can’t really have a conversation which compares the two because of that disparity. What I can say is that changes will not just happen in the future …. they are already happening.

Arts i  is the new 12,000 square foot art space of one of the largest investment companies in India. It is based in New Delhi and has launched the Religare Arts Initiative which acts as a corporate champion of art. Most galleries, auction houses and art funds operate art businesses but the Religare Arts Initiative tries to leverage business for art through a host of activities – exhibitions, residency programs, library, documentaries, art fund, seminars, documentation etc. The intention of the initiative is to have a 360 degree platform for art in India and really have it create change in society. It is not just a group of people but it wants to actually create an impact on society. I think that is incredibly novel.

Often it is easy for us to say that there is not enough expertise and not enough critical dialogue but the fact is if you really want to look there are some incredible things happening. In India another example is Devi Art Foundation started by a mother and son team who turned their private collection into a public venue. They opened a huge space last summer and already have had two or three critically-acclaimed exhibitions.

They are looking not only at promoting Indian art but also at what else is going on in the region. They reached out to me and we purchased two works by Afghan artists for their collection. This is very encouraging.

 To have come this far is wonderful. I want to acknowledge that there is a handful of us out there and it is changing. Another great example is Green Cardamom Gallery in London. They are contributing to the discourse by providing critical context through artist-generated collaborative exhibitions and writing projects.I cannot speak for China as I have never been there except for Hong Kong. But I have to say organisations like Asia Art Archive or your publication now, these are huge leaps forward in creating forums where critics can have space to say what they need to say.

AR: Do you have anything to say about the market for Asian art?

LA:  What has astonished a lot of people is that art from India and China has been successful because of locally-based collectors not just outside collectors. The whole market frenzy and speculation was accelerated by this local interest. In the long term this interest will continue to grow. What is happening in the Middle East is also incredible. For the first time in the last 2 years we are seeing auctions of contemporary art from the Middle East. Who would have thought it? And they did not do too badly at all.

AR: Perhaps it speaks about the quality and freshness of the work coming out of the Middle East, what do you think?

LA: That is true. It is fresh  because there is a cultural specifity which is very intriguing yet at the same time the art is universally relevant. For me when art tells me something specific but is still relevant whether or not I know where it is from or what it is about – if I can connect with it from that universal place – then it is good art. That is not to say that everything that is coming out of Asia is good of course! (Laughter) 

This is the second part of a 3 part interview

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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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Abu Dhabi’s Venice Biennale curator Catherine David says only 6 interesting artists from Emirates, whom will she show?

Posted by artradar on January 21, 2009


 

Hani Rashed

Hani Rashed

ART ABU DHABI

The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) announced late last month that the city-state will participate in next year’s 53rd Venice Biennale of Visual Art, entitled “Making Worlds,” a first for the oil-rich Gulf state.

Rather than renting a national pavilion, as most recent arrivals to the event do, Abu Dhabi will contribute the “ADACH Platform for Venice,” to be curated by Paris-born curator Catherine David. David has worked Venice before, presenting her “Contemporary Arab Representations” at the Biennale’s 50th edition, “Dreams and Conflicts,” in 2003. She is perhaps best known for having been artistic director in 1997 of documenta X, a highly conceptual multifaceted art event that takes place every five years in the German city of Kassel.

 

Catherine David

Catherine David

In an ambitious attempt to become a cultural hub, Abu Dhabi has recently initiated partnerships with many high-profile institutions such as the Frankfurt Book Fair and the New York Film Academy, and will soon be host to outposts of the famous Guggenheim and Louvre museums.

“Why are we looking at the Gulf?” asked David. “In front of you, you have India, Iran, Pakistan. It’s not in an island.”

Although she could not provide much in the way of details, as much of the content of the platform is still under discussion, she did imply that her selections would not hail exclusively from Abu Dhabi.

“To be frank, there are only five or six very interesting artists from the Emirates,” she said.

Perhaps some of her choices will be drawn from her recently curated show “In the Middle of the Middle,” on until March 2009 at the Sfeir-Semler Gallery. This features 12 artists living and working across the Middle East, particularly in Cairo, Beirut, Damascus, and Occupied Palestine.

Artists include

Jawad Al Malhi

 

Yasser Alwan

Yasser Alwan

Yasser Alwan has lived in Switzerland and Lebanon and studied photography in America. Evocative and intimate, his portraits of people working or passing by the streets of Cairo are inscribed in the long tradition of documentary photography. His photographs have been exhibited in Cairo, New York, Frankfurt, San Francisco, London and Canterbury.
Ayman Baalbaki
Anna Boghiguian
Rami Farah
Joude Gorani
Wafa Hourani
Simon Kabboush
Waël Noureddine
Hani Rashed

 

Walid Sadek

Walid Sadek

Walid Sadik is an artist and writer from Lebanon. He is currently assistant professor at the Department of Architecture and Design at the American University of Beirut.

Akram Zaatari

Original story Daily Star further artist information and images Galerie Sfei-Semler

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Tate Museum acquires video of Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari at Frieze Art Fair 2008

Posted by artradar on October 21, 2008


MUSEUM ACQUISITIONS

Acquired as a gift by The Outset /Frieze Art Fair Fund to benefit the Tate Collection:
Akram Zaatari born 1966
Nature Morte, 2008
Video projection
11 minutes
Dimensions variable
Ed 2/5 + 1 AP
Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg
Akram Zaatari is a video artist and curator who lives and works in Beirut. Author of more than 30 videos, and video installations, Zaatari has been exploring issues pertinent to Lebanese postwar condition, particularly the mediation of territorial conflicts and wars through television.
Each year, two prominent international curators are invited to work alongside Tate curators to select works. This year, the international curators were Thelma Golden (Director and Chief Curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem) and Sabine Breitwieser (independent curator and General Secretary of CIMAM).

The Fund is organised by Outset which was founded in 2003 as a philanthropic organisation dedicated to supporting new art. The charity focuses on raising private funding from its supporters and trustees for public museums, galleries and art projects.

With Tate’s annual government funding for its acquisitions effectively frozen since 1982, and now worth a small proportion of its original value, the Fund helps provide a much needed contribution towards Tate’s ongoing campaign to develop its Collection. A significant number of works acquired through the Fund are currently on display at Tate Modern.

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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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