Art Dubai at a glance
Greased with the new capital as well as the new aesthetic principles that easily embrace languages and methods that cut across national and cultural boundaries, art fairs are venues where creativity, intellect, glam and money come together to attend to the shifting logic of art staging. Art Dubai occupies a special niche in such an evolving map, and has, in the last six years, proved to be accommodating of this new framework while absorbing into its dynamics events and programmes which are not particularly profit-driven.
Art Dubai 2013, which is the seventh edition since its launch in 2007, boasts a strong not-for-profit curatorial and educational projects, 11 site-specific works; a live radio station; curated film and video screenings; commissioned performances; the launch of Sheikha Manal Little Artists projects for children; artist and curator's residencies; the third edition of dXb Store; plus the unveiling of works by the winners of the annual Abraaj Group Art Prize and the 7th iteration of the critically–acclaimed Global Art Forum. Art Dubai 2013 will also see the launch of a new large-scale sculpture installation on the beach adjacent to the fair.
Held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Art Dubai has, time and again, proven to be an important springboard for many a regional and international artist. The official release sheds some light on the organizers' self-assigned role in an expanding market framework: 'the seventh edition of Art Dubai reflects the ever-accelerating growth of the local and regional art scene.' Host to more artists and galleries from the Arab world than any other art event, Art Dubai attracts artists, curators, writers from both across the region and the world at large.
With the official inauguration set on March 20th, the countdown for the three-day Art Dubai 2013 is on. From its mega mix of artists, curators and thinkers there appears several goal-driven programmers and events, those that are modeled to motor today's conceptual and process-oriented art practices. Though there are similar sites around the world which encapsulate the contemporary spirit of crossing over to multiple media and knowledge bases, as does Dubai, it has successfully situated itself on the intersection of the traditional and the contemporaneous.
The artists of global renown who are to be featured in the current edition are a testimony to the organizers' willingness to celebrate the current crop of art alongside those which had been decisive in setting the stage for today's aesthetic diversity. The line-up is an intriguing one, as the veteran architects versed in the artistic diction who once initiated a radical departure from media-specificity share space with the new generations of exponents of crossdisciplinarity. The former are represented by stalwarts such as Michelangelo Pistoletto, Yayoi Kusama, Daniel Buren, James Turrell and Zarina Hashmi, and the latter by Rirkrit Tiravanija, Akram Zaatari, Idris Khan, Iman Issa, and Ibrahim Quraishi.
Art Dubai 2013 is hosting 75 galleries from 30 countries, as following the success of Art Dubai in 2012, many key galleries are returning in March 2013. There are international entrants from major European centers of art, namely, New York, Berlin, Paris and London.
Forum as a site of intervention
The Global Art Forum is a site for projection and interjection of thoughts and ideas around a thematic hub that best conciliates the intellectual appetite honed by the contemporary art and theoretical practices. As an important conduit to lend currency to contextual reading, through which to navigate the arts in the 21st century, the Forum pumps up the much-needed intellectual steam from its segmented, yet thematically integrated sessions.
As the current edition brings together a diverse line-up of participants including artists, curators, musicians, strategists, thinkers and writers; featuring commissioned projects and research as well as six days of live talks; the Forum is set to intercept the ongoing misunderstanding which proliferates in the form of words, clichés and misinterpretations in the art world and beyond. This seventh iteration, centered on the concept of 'definitionism' bearing the title 'It Means This', is commissioned by writer/curator Shumon Basar and is directed by Istanbul based writer/editor HG Masters.
Founded and produced by Art Dubai, Global Art Forum is presented by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), and is held in partnership with Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (Qatar Museums Authority).
Global Art Forum 7 features over 40 contributors. Among the participants there are an interesting milieu of participants and those who are attending for the first time incude Dubai-based political scientist Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla; poet and author Mourid Barghouti (I Saw Ramallah, among other books); artist and former REM lead singer Michael Stipe; writer-editors Charles Arsene-Henry, Brian Kuan Wood (Editor, eflux journal) and Guy Mannes-Abbott (author, In Ramallah, Running); New York-based anthropologist Uzma Z. Rizvi; composer and musician Andre Vida; and Doha-based analyst and commentator Tarik Yousef.
Returning speakers include writer and artist Douglas Coupland; curator Lara Khaldi (Director, Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre, Ramallah); geostrategist and Director of Hybrid Reality Institute Parag Khanna; Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects of the Serpentine Gallery, London, Hans-Ulrich Obrist; the founder of Barjeel Art Foundation Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi; and the Beirut-based critic Kaelen Wilson-Goldie.
The Global Art Forum 7 includes a range of commissioned projects and publications, including a series of “advert breaks” by upcoming artists Lantian Xie and Abdullah Al Mutairi, among other projects and publications to be announced.
- DEPART DESK