Art Radar Asia

Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

  • Photobucket
  • About Art Radar Asia

    Art Radar Asia News conducts original research and scans global news sources to bring you selected topical stories about the taste-changing, news-making and the up and coming in Asian contemporary art.

Posts Tagged ‘Islamic art’

Sotheby’s to hold first ever international auction house sale of calligraphy in Doha

Posted by artradar on July 28, 2010


ART MARKET ART AUCTIONS CALLIGRAPHY DOHA

Sotheby’s London recently announced it will hold the first ever international auction house sale dedicated solely to calligraphy in Doha, Qatar, at The Ritz-Carlton Doha hotel, on 15 December. The groundbreaking calligraphy auction Hurouf: The Art of the World will showcase various works ranging from very early Islamic calligraphies to a mix of modern and contemporary Arabic, Farsi and Ottoman Turkish works.

Highlights of the forthcoming auction will travel through the Gulf Region prior to sale, one of which being Ali Omar Ermes’ The Fourth Ode which has an estimated price ranging from USD250,000 to USD350,000.

Ali Omar Ermes's 'The Fourth Ode' (acrylic and ink on paper).
Ali Omar Ermes’s ‘The Fourth Ode’ (acrylic and ink on paper).

Calligraphy is an art form that has influenced the Doha art scene for many years, and Sotheby’s believes this sale represents the region’s past and present talents. Says Roberta Louckx, Sotheby’s Executive Vice President and Head of Sotheby’s in Qatar, in a the press release announcing the sale:

We are delighted to return to Doha later this year with an inaugural auction devoted to ‘calligraphy’, a theme that has inspired and informed the art of this rich and diverse culture throughout the ages – from the production of the first Kufic Qur’ans to the modern and contemporary artworks of Farhad Moshiri. Sotheby’s is strongly committed to the region, and we are extremely excited to present for sale, in Qatar, the creative endeavours of some of the region’s most talented artists, past and present.

According to the press release, the forthcoming calligraphy sale is built on the success of last year’s Doha sales. After opening an office in Doha in 2008, Sotheby’s held maiden sales in March last year during which an Indian carpet made of pearls and gems fetched USD5.5 million, although the Bloomberg article which reported on this sale also mentioned that the prices of the auctions were disappointing in general. As Dalya Islam, Director of Sotheby’s Middle East Arab & Iranian Art Department, states in the press release,

Last year at our Doha sales Sotheby’s achieved solid success for works by highly sought-after Arab artists such as Chafic Abboud, Nabil Nahas, Ayman Baalbaki, Yousef Ahmad and Ali Hassan. In order to build on this, we have decided to devote a sale to works of significant interest to the region, focusing on calligraphy. The Arabic script has stimulated artists for more than a millennium, and is still a highly regarded and revered art form that reflects the rich history of the region. The auction will emphasise the enduring legacy of Islamic art by tracing the development of calligraphy, with a focus on its contemporary manifestation.

CBKM/KN

Related Topics:  market watch – auctions, calligraphy, Middle Eastern artists

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for more auction and event news

Advertisements

Posted in Artist Nationality, Auctions, Business of art, Calligraphy, Market watch, Middle Eastern, Qatar, Styles, Words | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Art industry elite meet at inaugural Abu Dhabi Art fair

Posted by artradar on December 21, 2009


ART FAIRS

The inaugural Abu Dhabi Art fair opened to much fanfare on November 19th. The government-run Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) organized the fair, along with the area’s new cultural district on Saadiyat Island.

The project features the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi by architect Frank Gehry, the Louvre Abu Dhabi by architect Jean Nouvel, the Performing Arts Centre by architect Zaha Hadid, the Maritime Museum by architect Tadao Ando, and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum by architect Foster + Partners Ltd.

In attendance at the event were big time players from the Western art world, including London’s White Cube, New York’s Acquavella Galleries, and Dubai’s Third Line and B21. Megacollector François Pinault along with Jeff Koons were in attendance as special patrons.

Jeff Koons on left, François Pinault on right.

According to ArtForum who covered the event, Abu Dhabi Art was really two fairs under one roof. On the one hand, there was a slew of young galleries from places like Bangalore, Damascus, and Dubai, showing works that ranged from calligraphic kitsch to more promising endeavors. The other fair was a higher-stakes arena, featuring major New York and European dealers.

Dealer Iwan Wirth, from Hauser & Wirth, in front of a large Louise Bourgeois spider

Hauser & Wirth brought a large Louise Bourgeois spider sculpture and Subodh Gupta skull, while White Cube offered sparkling paintings by Hirst. Tony Shafrazi hung his ’80s-themed stand with Basquiats, Warhols, and Harings. A consortium of seven dealers, including L&M Arts, Malingue, and Louis Carre & Cie, combined forces with Picassos and Légers.

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for more market and auction house news

SF/KCE

Posted in Abu Dhabi, Art districts, Fairs, Francois Pinault, Uncategorised | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Stop…look again! Work of Iranian activist artist Parastou Forouhar is not what it seems…

Posted by artradar on September 22, 2009


CONTEMPORARY IRANIAN ART

For a revealing insight into contemporary art and its relationship with political and gender issues in Iran today, don’t miss this intriguing interview with Parastou Forouhar in which she describes how she challenges viewers to take a second look.

Parastou Forouhar

Parastou Forouhar, from Series II, Tausend und ein Tag, 2009.

Art by Iranian artist Parastou Forouhar takes on political proportions with her intriguing delicate imagery of torturous acts being perpetrated by Iran’s authoritarian regime.

Political violence is a deeply personal issue for the activist artist, whose parents were the victims of a politically motivated murder in Iran.

In an interview with DB Art Magazine, she discusses this trauma and her artistic style of creating beautiful ornamental artworks, which upon closer inspection reveal twisted scenes of cruelty.

Forouhar, who is now based in Germany, has exhibited at the 2nd Berlin Biennial in 2001, the Global Feminisms show in 2007 at the Brooklyn Museum of Modern Art, and her works can currently be seen in Iran Inside Out — a comprehensive exhibition at the New York Chelsea Art Museum. However, at the moment the artist is “more involved with politics than with art.”

Forouhar says she consciously intended for viewers to first see her ornamental images and feel they are beautiful, and then become shocked when the true subject matter becomes apparent. She says:

I challenge the viewer to take a second look. At first glance, you see the beautiful pattern and think you’ve understood it. And then you get a little closer and realize, no, it’s completely different, I didn’t understand anything at all. To challenge the viewer to take a second look is exciting to me. The viewer is thrown back on himself and is forced to reevaluate his perception.

This compelling interview also covers whether Islamic art is becoming ‘more Catholic’, (and yes, she agrees it is leaning more towards visual Islamic-pop elements and ritual), and questions the attitude of the young male Iranian generation towards their patriarchal past (they are reportedly ‘fed up’ with the traditional masculine character.) Read full interview here.

-contributed by Erin Wooters

Related Posts

Related Links

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for the latest contemporary art news and trends

Bookmark and Share

Posted in Activist, Germany, Iranian, Museum shows, Parastou Forouhar, Political | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Iran Inside Out review round up – 56 artist survey show in New York described as mesmerising, a privilege

Posted by artradar on September 3, 2009


IRANIAN ART SURVEY

56 contemporary Iranian artists are presented in the attention-grabbing and timely  Iran Inside Out exhibition at Chelsea Art Museum in New York (June 26 – Sep 5 2009).

Surprisingly – or perhpas not – only 35 artists in the show reside inside Iran and the other 21 dispersed outside Iran. Together they contribute 210 works of painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation on themes such as gender, war, and politics. Complemented with forums and film screenings, theatre performances, music recitals, and panel discussions, Iran Inside Out is part of Chelsea Art Museum’s 2008-2009 “The East West Project”. 

In this round up, art experts and critics from the New York Times to the Huffington Post give their perspectives on this exhibition and report that they are enthralled, mesmerised and surprised.  In this rich and challenging show unexpected findings and themes abound. Be sure to scroll down and read Huffington Post’s Marina Bronchman who discovers a controversial new view of the veil and its effect on sexual and gender expression.

 

Pooneh Maghazehe, Hell's Puerto Rico Performance Still, Digital C-print 2008 copyright artist and courtesy Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery
Pooneh Maghazehe, Hell’s Puerto Rico Performance Still, Digital C-print 2008 copyright artist and courtesy Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery

 

 

Chelsea Art Museum: Curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath

The curators explain that Iran Inside Out defies the traditional perceptions of Iran and Iranian art:

An intimate look into the people, both inside and outside a country that is more complex than images of veiled women, worn out calligraphy and what a handful of other emblematic images would suggest…an examination of the means through which a young generation of artists is reconciling the daily implications of cultural and geographical distances with the search for individual artistic expression…offers an unexpected insight into the artistic energy of a culture that is constantly evolving as Iranians living both in and out of the country, come of age living and working in contentious societies.

(Art Radar editor note: the curators of Saatchi’s Middle Eastern show ‘Unveiled’ (in which Iranian art predominated) earlier in 2009 also claimed to go beyond the ‘worn out’ to present a more nuanced and alternative view of art from the Middle East – this was hotly contested by some reviewers who were surprised to find that, on the contrary, bloodshed, repression and gender inequality were ubiquitous and courageously expressed. See related posts section below for the review round up of  Saatchi’s show).

 

Yet there are differences between insiders and outsiders say the curators:

Ironically, contrary to one’s expectations, the artists living abroad often draw more on their cultural heritage, while those on the inside focus more on issues of everyday life without much regard to what ‘the outside’ views as specifically Iranian references. Yet, within these disparities, one element stands strong: the recurrent references, sometimes ambiguous, at times emotional, often nostalgic and on occasion satirical and even tragic to Iran the country, Iran the past, the Iran which has been lost and that which could be found.

New York Times: Holland Cotter

Holland Cotter elaborates on how Iranian cultural references run through the show in this 30th-anniversary year of the Iranian revolution. For this critic, whether inside or out, artists are in touch with their cultural history. 

Golnaz Fathi, who lives in Tehran, walks the line between calligraphy and abstraction in his paintings; so does Pouran Jinchi, who lives in New York. The heroic epic called “The Book of Kings” is given an action-hero update by Siamak Filizadeh of Tehran, but also in film stills by Sadegh Tirafkan, who spends part of his time in Toronto.

 

“Zaal arrives to help Rostam, ROSTAM 2 The Return” by Siamak Filizadeh(2008)
“Zaal arrives to help Rostam, ROSTAM 2 The Return” by Siamak Filizadeh(2008)

 

 

Female artists are  given the spotlight, too:

Alireza Dayani’s fantastical historical drawings; Newsha Tavakolian’s photographic study of a transsexual; Saghar Daeeri’s paintings of Tehran’s boutique shoppers; Shirin Fakhim’s sculptural salute to the city’s prostitutes. Abbas Kowsari documents cadet training for chador-clad female police officers in Tehran. Less interestingly, Shahram Entekhabi draws chadors in black Magic Marker on images of dating-service models.

However, not all of them advocate social causes. Some artists employ a less aggressive tone:

Ahmad Morshedloo’s tender paintings of sleepers, Reza Paydari’s portrait of school friends and the mysterious little films of Shoja Azari are in this category.

Nevertheless, ambiguity does not equate with absence of politics in these artwork: 

Repression both inside and outside Iran is under scrutiny in a piece by Mitra Tabrizian about the roles of both the West and Muslim clergy in Iran’s modern history. In photographs by Arash Hanaei, brutal scenes from the Iran-Iraq war and Abu Ghraib are played out by bound and gagged dolls.

Flavorpill New York: Leah Taylor 

 

Sara Rahbar, 'Flag #5', 2007. Textile/mixed media, 65x35 inches
Sara Rahbar, ‘Flag #5’, 2007. Textile/mixed media, 65×35 inches

 

Taylor praises Iran Inside Out as one of the timeliest exhibitions in history:

With violence and political unrest roiling in that country, this exhibit takes a closer look at its inherent contradictions, tradition, culture, identity, and struggle — especially as faced by its younger generation of artists. As gruesome descriptions and footage of the election-protest clampdown continue to slip through Iranian censors daily, having Iran Inside Out‘s creative insight into the country seems a privilege, indeed.

Huffington Post: Marissa Bronfman

Shocked and enthralled by the creative artwork at the exhibition, Bronfman comments: 

A sense of duality was apparent in all the various pieces I saw at the exhibit, and there is an interesting geographical duality influencing the artists as well. The artists still living in Iran must struggle with avoiding government censors while not compromising with self-censorship, and those living outside strive to assume an “unlabeled artist-status” within a West-centric contemporary art world. The museum reminds us of their important commonality, however, such that all 56 artists desire to “establish an individual artistic identity free from the stigma of “stereotype” and “locality.” 

She explains what draws her the most about the Tehran Shopping Malls by Saghar Daeeri:

 

Saghar Daeeri, Shopping Malls of Tehran - Acrylic (Aaron Gallery).
Saghar Daeeri, Shopping Malls of Tehran – Acrylic (Aaron Gallery).

The paintings came to life with a stunning palette of vibrant colors and women depicted in a grotesque, almost fantastical rendering. Heavily made up faces, lacquered nails and peroxide hair instantly made me think these Iranian women were influenced by typical American ideals of beauty. However, Hanna Azemati, who works at CAM and presided over the show, offered a wonderful perspective that I hadn’t originally considered. She told me that, “Because of the compulsory veil, women express their femininity through venues that are allowed in exaggerated ways. They resort to excessive make-up, overdone highlighted hair, thin eyebrows, long colored nails and even suggestive behavior.” This dualism that Iranian women must grapple with, between veiling and self-expression, was communicated with profound contradiction and was really quite mesmerizing.

Contributed by Wendy Ma

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for more reviews on Iranian art

Posted in Activist, Critic, Curators, Feminist art, Identity art, Iranian, Islamic art, Museum shows, New York, Political, Religious art, Reviews, Shows, Social, Surveys, USA, War, Women power | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Catch Palestinian Art in Venice – Islamic art in the spotlight or in a corner?

Posted by artradar on July 29, 2009


Emily Jacir, Stazione 2009

Emily Jacir, Stazione 2009

ART PALESTINE VENICE BIENNALE

The debut of Palestine contemporary art at the 53rd Venice Biennale (June 7th – Sept. 30th) attempts to elevate Palestine art to the international spotlight. This post explores whether Islamic art from Palestine has been marginalized and to what extent the inaugural show  throws light on Palestinian art today.

In the past, Venice played a merchant role as a fulcrum between the Western and the Islamic world. Now, as an artistic realm, Venice gives Palestinian art its virgin step to impress a wider audience in the west.

However, contrary to traditional art, contemporary Palestinian art does not equate to Muslim art, and perhaps that’s why the work of seven participating artists is being featured at the Biennale. To avoid religious controversy, Muslim message is absent, whether or not it’s a true representation of Palestinian art is questionable, but Palestinian art does emerge in a gamut of forms.

Instead of pushing forward a message, it is more about preserving a collective memory. Subject to approval, chef d’oeuvres such as Gregor Schneidor’s enormous black cube, inspired by the Ka’aba in Mecca, did not pass through the religious sensitivity screening.

While accepted in the Muslim community in Germany, it was rejected at the Biennale in 2005 because some viewed it as a terrorist threat. Despite Venice’s ingrained connections to Islam culture, what is representative of all Islamic symbols is still not tolerated at the exposition. 

If the theme does not revolve around Islamic roots, Palestinian artists must borrow other elements from their culture and history to assert a unique statement about their artwork. Free from religious implications, their artwork references Palestinian issues both on a local and global scale, bridging the past and the present.

Among the participating artists at the Biennale, Emily Jacir installs a stazione that encourages cultural exchange between Venice and the Arab world within architectural space and design. Situated on all of the vaporetto #1 stops, stazione provides a link between Venice’s heritage and the Arabic world, with Arabic translations inscribed on the shops in order to inform tourists of the rich origins. 

Shadi HabibAllah, Ok, hit, hit but don't run 2009

Shadi HabibAllah, Ok, hit, hit but don't run 2009

Another artist Shadi HabibAllah, through video and animation of hominoids, delves into the visual perception of natural objects surrounding us in the mechanical state – that work is a living experience, not just a visual reference.

To evoke notions of collective past memories, Taysir Batniji uses multimedia approach by playing the “Date Video”, significant in abstracting a process where time is suspended, as the ticks resonated the length of time since the border closures that forbid him from returning home.

Via photography and video of the panorama of the structural architecture and geography of the Shufhat Refugee camp in Jerusalem, Jawad Al Malhi explores the refugee population that is marginalized and neglected. Since outsiders don’t have access to narrow passages in the camp, the panoramic view enables exploration of the image of camp as well as the entropic nature of the space of the camp. By exploring claustrophobia and containment within the camp, he casts light on the dark side of reality in the land of promise.

Taysir Batniji, Atelier 2005

Taysir Batniji, Atelier 2005

Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti employ a sound installation device to explore the contemporary spatialization of urban centers. They take a dialogue in the dark approach, where the visitors enter a black-out room, blinded and only able to hear murmurs and cries of recorded discourse of what it is like to live in the Palestinian community. Heartbeats and musical interventions compounded the effect further. These two artists endeavor to illustrate the Ramallah Syndrome, which references the illusion of the new spatial social order and economic opportunities after the Oslo peace process. They question how Ramallah maintains as the city of Normalcy despite Israeli occupation and daily destructions.

Last but not least on the list of exhibiting artists, Khalil Rabah applies the Biennale idea to his work “A Geography: 50 Villages -The 3rd Riwaq Biennale”. This imaginary biennale takes place in the public space of 50 Palestinian villages, all of which are characteristic of ancient and original architecture and archways. While it rethinks confinement in physical space , it also runs parallel with Riwaq’s goal to protect and promote cultural heritage in Palestine. Meanwhile, by omitting large-scale and formal artistic presentation, it protests against the homogenization of the standard in the international art market. Moreover, it reexamines the biennale culture and ways to link Palestine art with the rest of the world.

Related Links:

Related Posts:

Contributed by Wendy Ma

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia

Posted in Biennials, Calligraphy, Electronic art, Fantasy art, Islamic art, Italy, Palestinian, Photography, Religious art, Sound art, Time, Venice, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

56 artist show Iran Inside Out – Will election unrest fan the debate about Iranian contemporary art?

Posted by artradar on June 30, 2009


IRANIAN CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITION US

New York’s Chelsea Art Museum is holding its “groundbreaking” exhibition Iran Inside Out (26 June to 5 September 2009) which features 35 artists living and working in Iran alongside 21 others living in the diaspora.

We are promised a “multifarious portrait of 56 contemporary Iranian artists challenging the conventional perceptions of Iran and Iranian art”. However, do not be at all surprised if unfolding events in Iran and the very art itself will result in heated debate and deep schisms about this interpretation.

Pooneh Maghazehe, Hell's Puerto Rico Performance Still, 2008 copyright artist

Pooneh Maghazehe, Hell's Puerto Rico Performance Still, 2008 copyright artist

The debate was ignited by ‘Unveiled’, a show of Middle Eastern art (half of it Iranian) at The Saatchi Gallery London in the early months of this year. The exhibition garnered plenty of critical attention but strongly divided 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.

According to Henry Chu of LA Times , “Unveiled is an exhibition which offers an alternate vision: the Middle East as a source of lively, stimulating contemporary art — informed by conflict, certainly, but not consumed by it.” Nonsense, says Dorment in The Telegraph who claims the show is replete with references to bombs, religious police and the denigration of women.

This debate will be fanned anew by recent political disturbances in Iran. Relations between foreign powers and Iran are now severely strained following the disputed re-election on 12 June of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Click to browse Iran Inside Out catalogue

Click to browse Iran Inside Out catalogue

“Iran has repeatedly accused foreign powers – especially Britain and the US – of meddling after the 12 June election, which officially handed him a decisive victory” says the BBC while The New York Times gives us a specific quote:

President Obama, who made his most critical remarks of the Iranian leadership on Friday, when he called the government’s crackdown “outrageous” … said the prospects for a dialogue with Iran had been dampened.

…“Didn’t he say that he was after change?” Mr. Ahmadinejad asked. “Why did he interfere?”

Unfolding political events will challenge the New York show’s curators, artists and museum staff and test their courage. Even before the protests, in reference to Iranian art in ‘Unveiled’, the Guardian was saying:

It is still amazing how far into politics this art bravely goes and it is no overstatement to speak of bravery in this case. One of the artists represented here, who lives in Tehran, is muffled in the gallery’s publicity shot to conceal his identity. Another, the prodigiously gifted Tala Madani, has escaped Tehran for Amsterdam but still refused to have her face revealed in a photograph. Guardian

The museum’s website raises the interesting point – and this is perhaps the nub of it – that artists in the diaspora and at home in Iran choose different forms of expression:

Ironically, contrary to one’s expectations, the artists living abroad often draw more on their cultural heritage, while those on the inside focus more on issues of everyday life without much regard to what ‘the outside’ views as specifically Iranian references.

But, whereas the museum’s writers see the focus of home-based artists on the  ‘everyday’ as an act of choice, there are some who suggest it is an act of self-preservation. Time will tell whether the description of this show will be excoriated like that of the catalogue description of ‘Unveiled’:

In her catalogue introduction to .. ‘Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East’, Lisa Farjam airily dismisses European perceptions of the Middle East as a place synonymous with political oppression, religious intolerance, and terrorism as unthinking ‘clichés’ that prevent us from understanding the richness and diversity of Muslim societies.

All I can say in response is that the artists in this show profoundly disagree with her sunny take on this part of the world. The evils Westerners see from a distance are the everyday context in which many of these painters and sculptors make their work – and it was precisely to escape repression at home that so many of the best of them now live in New York or Paris.

Their art isn’t (like so much Western art) about consumerism or celebrity or art itself; it’s about suicide bombers, religious police, unending war, and the denigration of women in Islamic societies. While I admit I was surprised that those still working in Tehran feel able to treat the subjects of gender, sexuality, religion, and politics without risking imprisonment or death, among the photos of the artists displayed at the end of the show, I noticed that one, who still lives in Tehran, has taken the precaution of wearing a balaclava. Telegraph

Related links: Exhibition description on Chelsea Art Museum site

Catalogue

In a still unusual and much-appreciated move, the museum has put the show’s catalogue online. It is a glorious glimpse of a very active art scene. Text and works by artists sit alongside interviews with collectors and galleries. Buy the ‘Iran Inside Out’ catalogue here.

FEATURED ARTISTS:

Inside Iran (35)

Abbas Kowsari, Ahmad Morshedloo, Amir Mobed, Alireza Dayani, Arash Hanaei, Arash Sedaghatkish, Arman Stepanian, Barbad Golshiri, Behdad Lahooti, Behrang Samadzadegan, Bita Fayyazi, Daryoush Gharahzad, Farhad Moshiri, Farideh Lashai, Golnaz Fathi, Houman Mortazavi, Jinoos Taghizadeh, Khosrow Hassanzadeh, Mahmoud Bakhshi Moakher, Majid Ma’soomi Rad, Mehdi Farhadian, Nazgol Ansarinia, Newsha Tavakolian, Ramin Haerizadeh, Reza Derakshani, Reza Paydari, Rokni Haerizadeh, Sadegh Tirafkan, Saghar Daeeri, Shahab Fotouhi, Shirin Aliabadi, Shirin Fakhim, Siamak Filizadeh, Siavash Nagshbandi, Vahid Sharifian

Outside Iran (21)

Ala Ebtekar, Alireza Ghandchi, caraballo–farman, Darius Yektai, Kamran Diba, Leila Pazooki, Mitra Tabrizian, Nazanin Pouyandeh, Negar Ahkami, Nicky Nodjoumi, Parastou Forouhar, Pooneh Maghazehe, Pouran Jinchi, Roya Akhavan, Samira Abbassy, Sara Rahbar, Shahram Entekhabi, Shahram Karimi, Shirin Neshat, Shiva Ahmadi, Shoja Azari

Related posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for Middle Eastern art news

Posted in Activist, Identity art, Iranian, Islamic art, Middle Eastern, Museum shows, Nationalism, New York, Overviews, Performance, Political | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Where is the Sharjah Art Museum heading? – Manal Ataya, Sharjah Museums director

Posted by artradar on June 18, 2009


MIDDLE EAST MUSEUMS

The Art Newspaper has published a fascinating video interview with the Director of the Sharjah Museum, Manal Ataya. Because the video is in a frame rather than its own separate page, it is not possible to link to it directly so we have paraphrased some of the most interesting snippets of information.

map-sharjah2

Sharjah – the cultural emirate

Sharjah is just one of seven of the emirates which make up the United Arab Emirates and is often called the ‘cultural emirate’ because its leading position in arts infrastructure. It has a well-respected biennial and three museums devoted to art:

  • Museum of Islamic Civilisation
  • Sharjah Art Museum and Contemporary Arab Art
  • Sharjah Calligraphy Museum

His Highness the Emir’s passion and vision

Sharjah’s pre-eminent position in the Middle Eastern art scene is largely due to the energy and vision of His Highness the Emir of Sharjah and in this video Manal Ataya gives us an intriguing insight into the progressive and enlightened principles which he communicates to his museum staff.

For example, she explains that His Highness encourages staff to thirst after knowledge and he encourages extensive and continual reading.

He believes that culture and museums encourage flexibility of thinking which can help to promote openness and understanding between people and, ultimately, bring peace. He also believes that a developed sensitivity to aesthetics spills over into other facets of human endeavour, for example an appreciation of the arts can help a teacher teach and a politician polemicise and a doctor practise.

Islam prohibits the figurative in art? Not true

Manal Ataya also points out and clears up some misconceptions about the Islamic prohibition of the figure in art. She explains that there is a tradition of portraiture in the Middle East and Islamic rules are more nuanced than is commonly understood.

Islam does allow human representation and it is only forbidden in a religious context or space. She explains that there are some sects which do not allow representation of the human figure in any context but these are not Islamic rules per se.

Youthful demographics – 70% under 30 years –  shaping museum plans

 The Emir has a young population (perhaps 70% are under the age of 30, says Ataya) and this age group is showing a strong interest in digital and graphic art. The museum plans to show more sculpture and 3D work, which is not traditional in Sharjah.

Collaboration with Abu Dhabi and its blockbuster museums

When asked about potential collaboration with Abu Dhabi, the largest and richest of the UAE’s city-states which is planning blockbuster branded museums such as the Louvre and Guggenheim, Ataya explains that the museums in Sharjah are always ready and able to collaborate and work with others.

She describes how they have already started working with Abu Dhabi’s universities which have disciplines in the arts. She believes that Sharjah is just one of seven emirates and they can unite successfully to bring UAE a more prominent role in the international art scene.

See the video

To see The Art Newspaper videos you can subscribe online.

See Manal Ataya, Sharjah Museum director video interview 14 mins May 2009 – in a frame so may be difficult to find

Related links: Sharjah museums website, Art Newspaper subscription

Related posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for Middle Eastern art trends

Posted in Art districts, Curators, Interviews, Islamic art, Middle Eastern, Museum collectors, Museum shows, Nonprofit, Professionals | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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.”

See (in new window)

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia

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

Gender examined in Pergamon Museum of Islamic Art’s exhibition of Iranian contemporary art to September 7 2008

Posted by artradar on August 23, 2008


Ahmad Morshedloo Untitled

Ahmad Morshedloo Untitled

IRAN CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM SHOW  to 7 September 2008

 

 

 

The relation of the sexes to each other is at the very forefront of the various debates on societies shaped by Islam which are currently being held all over the world. The exhibition “Naqsh – Insights into Gender and Role Models in Iran” aims to present a differentiated view of the subject, by taking Iran as an example and by looking at the debate going on within the country itself, with all of its peculiarities and contradictions. The show is being held at Pergamon Museum in its Islamic section on Berlin’s museum island.

The subject of “Gender, Feminism and Islam” is approached on two different levels: firstly in the form of theoretical documentation and secondly in artistic execution. On display will be works of art from Iranian artists and a German artist of part-Iranian parentage who all use various media to tackle the subject of constructions of gender identities. The documentary component will comprise audio and video interviews from Iran and the diaspora, in which representatives of secular and Islamic feminism and a transsexual man are given the chance to speak alongside scholars and activists.

Participating artists include Bita Fayyazi, Parastou Forouhar, Alireza Ghandchi, Shirin Homann-Saadat, Ahmad Morshedloo, Neda Razavipour, Maryam Salour.

See (in new window)

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia now

Posted in Feminist art, Iranian, Islamic art | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Buying frenzy lights up Iranian art market

Posted by artradar on July 10, 2008


Source: Middle East Times

 

 

 

IRANIAN ART MARKET The prices have soared by a factor of 20 within two years, the galleries are packed with prospective buyers and the works are both modern and daring, but this is not a description of the art scene in New York, Paris or London, but Tehran. Far removed from the increasingly tense standoff over the country’s nuclear programme and domestic frustration because of rising inflation, Iran’s best known artists are enjoying a huge rise in demand for their work.

 

Interest in buying art increased in last 2 years

“For 30 years no one was interested in us. Today everyone wants to buy,” Parviz Tanavoli, 72, Iran’s best known sculptor, told AFP. “People have money. They used to invest it in property. Today they see there are other places to put it.”

A 1975 sculpture by Tanavoli, “The Wall (Oh Persepolis),” sold in late April for 2.84 million dollars at a Christie’s auction in Dubai — the highest figure ever reached for a contemporary Iranian work.The 1.8-metre-high (6-feet) bronze block was typical of Tanavoli’s intricate style, partly inspired by the ancient art of the Achaemenian empire, and praised by experts as being more than worth its stratospheric price.

The younger artist Farhad Moshiri, known for his bright three-dimensional paintings of jars emblazoned in calligraphic Persian script, has seen his canvases sell for up to 750,000 dollars.Lesser known artists have seen their work sell at the numerous galleries in upmarket northern Tehran for between 20,000 and 30,000 dollars. Just two years ago the asking price would have been more like 2,000.

 

More buyers for investment

The boom is another example of the striking gulf between wealth and poverty in Tehran, where the rich can afford imported cars and luxury apartments while the worst off struggle to make ends meet. Despite the rise in prices there are more buyers than before. Many people want to make investments,” said Shahnaz Kansari, who heads the Moon art gallery in Tehran.

Amir Hossein Etemad, of the Negarkhaneh Etemad gallery, warned: “I’m worried that this will prove to be nothing more than a speculative bubble that will explode. “But it’s true that the prices were very low before.”

Abstract tendencies have long appeared the most popular in modern Iranian art, possibly because of the strict rules governing the portrayal of the human form in an Islamic state. Iranian visual art also crosses genres in unusual ways: Cannes prize-winning Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami is also a renowned artist whose stark photography is a major draw at Tehran galleries.

 

Iranian art crosses genre boundaries

One of the fathers of Iranian modernist painting was the poet Sohrab Sepheri, considered one of the greatest of all Iranian modern writers, whose abstract landscapes are true collector’s items.”We are at the beginning of the road. More and more there are individual exhibitions by Iranian artists abroad,” said the painter Farideh Lashaie.”Iranian culture used to be known abroad from the names of ancient poets like Hafez, Ferdowsi and Rumi. But painting and contemporary sculpture also have something to say.”As with cinema, people did not expect to see paintings and sculptures like this coming from Iran. Perhaps this explains their success.”

© 2008 Agence France-Presse

Image details: Iranians visit an exhibition by female artist Golnaz Afruz at the Mah Gallery in Tehran AFP

See:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia now

Posted in Iranian, Market watch, Sculpture | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »