Janet Rady

Advice to newsletter writers: keep your message brief, friendly, and to the point.   

With this exhortation in mind, as we gear up for one of the busiest months of the art calendar in the year, we hardly need to remind you that next week sees the opening of Frieze London & Frieze Masters (and satellite fairs)  as well as 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, in London.  

Later in the month, we move to Paris for FIAC to be followed back in London by Sotheby's sale of 20th Century Art / Middle East on 23rd October and Christie's inaugural sale in the capital of Middle Eastern, Modern and Contemporary Art on 25th October 2017.

In addition, as always, our newsletter features a number of thought provoking exhibitions and events across the globe relating to the region as well as our newly named Art Matters section and finally Inspiration.

Enjoy!

EXHIBITIONS
Parastou Forouhar_ Written Room
PARASTOU FOROUHAR: WRITTEN ROOM
11 February, 2017 to 31 January, 2018
Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent, Belgium

Parastou Forouhar created a mural in the museum's entrance hall using the Persian alphabet in such combinations that, despite the illusion of legibility, the calligraphic script does not make sense.
What might be understood initially as a loss of meaning, can instead be interpreted simply as abstract visual language, as an environment that cultivates subjective experience. Despite her critical stance towards Iranian politics and Muslim fundamentalism, Forouhar's oeuvre explores universal themes such as displacement, gender and cultural identity.
Living Histories _ Recent Acquisitions of Works on Paper by Contemporary Arab Artists
LIVING HISTORIES - RECENT ACQUISITIONS OF WORKS ON PAPER BY CONTEMPORARY ARAB ARTISTS
5 June to 22 October, 2017
The Arab British Centre, London, UK 

This display highlights recent acquisitions of posters, prints, drawings, photographs and artists' books. Many of the artists come from Syria, their work produced following the uprisings that began in 2011 that have since resulted in full scale civil war.
The British Museum collects art such as this in keeping with its role as a museum of history. These works speak of their time - they invite the viewer to look at the troubled politics of the Middle East today through a lens that is different from the world of the immediacy of media reports.
Kader Attia_ Reason_s Oxymorons
KADER ATTIA: REASON'S OXYMORONS
8 September, 2017 to 8 January, 2018
Garen Gallery, Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, US 

How we understand and experience trauma and psychological repair reveals essential beliefs about who we are and how we see the world. Kader Attia's Reason's Oxymorons (2015) examines the act of repair as it is envisioned in both Western and non-Western cultures. The installation comprises eighteen video interviews, conducted by the artist and presented on television monitors installed within a modular cubicle environment. The interviews feature a diverse roster of experts and practitioners ranging from ethnographers, historians, and theorists, to psychiatrists, healers, and philosophers.
Contemporary Art from the United Arab Emirates Featuring works from the ADMAF Art Collection
CONTEMPORARY ART FROM THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
FEATURING WORKS FROM THE ADMAF ART COLLECTION
13 September to 29 October, 2017
me Collectors Room Berlin / Olbricht Foundation, Berlin, Germany
 
The exhibition Portrait of a Nation offers a glimpse into the creative practices of 50 contemporary artists from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Visitors are invited to explore the country through the individual perspectives of the participating artists who call it home. The exhibition is divided into seven themed rooms: Nation & Unity, Geography & Nature, Architecture & Urbanism, Portraiture & Identity, Religion & Spirituality, Language & Calligraphy, and Tradition & Heritage.
Parastou Forouhar
PARASTOU FOROUHAR: THE GRASS IS GREEN, THE SKY IS BLUE AND SHE IS BLACK
15 September to 31 October, 2017
Lindwurm Museum, Stein am Rhein, Switzerland

Die international renommierte Künstlerin Parastou Forouhar war von April bis Juni 2017 Stipendiatin der Künstlerresidenz Chretzeturm. Turbulente und harte Zeiten in ihrer Herkunftsregion, dem Nahen Osten: Krieg, Flucht, Not. Ruhe und Beständigkeit in Stein am Rhein, in der neutralen Schweiz, inmitten traumhafter Landschaft. Zwei Welten. Wie diese zusammenbringen? Entstanden ist ein neues künstlerisches Projekt inszenierter Fotografie mit dem Titel: "Das Gras ist grün, der Himmel ist blau, und sie ist schwarz ...".
Michael Rakowitz_ Backstroke of the West
MICHAEL RAKOWITZ: BACKSTROKE OF THE WEST
to 4
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Illinois, US 

Based in Chicago, Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz (b. 1973) makes work that explores recent contested social, political, and cultural histories. Drawing on personal experiences and research on these subjects, as well as history and popular culture, Rakowitz creates illustrated objects, installations, and performances that invite viewers to contemplate their complicit relationship to the political world around them, recognizing that hospitality and hostility are interlinked.

Collectively, this exhibition tells a story of restitution and reconstitution and positions Rakowitz as one of the most important artists of our time.
Lettres ouvertes_ de la calligraphie au street art
LETTRES OUVERTES, DE LA CALLIGRAPHIE AU STREET ART
to 21
Institut des Cultures d'Islam, Paris, France

La saison Lettres ouvertes, de la calligraphie au street art explore les dimensions calligraphiques dans les arts actuels à travers une exposition et de nombreux événements : arts de la scène, projections, conférences, débats, ateliers jeune public...
Apparue au VIIe siècle, la calligraphie arabe fixe sur papier le texte du Coran, jusqu'alors transmis oralement. Cet art sacré répond à un ensemble de règles strictes que les artistes contemporains n'hésitent pas à transgresser. Leurs œuvres s'affranchissent du contenu religieux, des traditions ancestrales, du sens même des lettres, et s'exposent jusque sur les murs des villes.
Ways of Seeing
WAYS OF SEEING
22 September, 2017 to 18 February, 2018
Villa Empain, Brussels, Belgium
 
Taking its cue from John Berger's 1972 seminal text on visual culture, Ways of Seeing explores the various formalistic strategies that artists employ to re-configure our perception of the world.
Marking the second collaboration between the Boghossian Foundation and curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, who curated When process becomes form: Dansaekhwa and Korean abstraction in the spring of 2016, the exhibition invites the viewer to investigate the manifold ways by which artists accord forms and concepts that are otherwise familiar with renewed appearances and meanings.
Shahryar Nashat The Cold Horizontals
SHAHRYAR NASHAT
THE COLD HORIZONTALS
to
Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland

Shahryar Nashat (b. 1975) is preoccupied with sculpture and video, taking aim on the dynamics of desire and the need for representation. For his largest institutional solo show to date, Nashat presents a newly commissioned film and group of sculptures that interweave autobiographical fragments and technoid aesthetics.
Preis der Nationalgalerie 2017
PREIS DER NATIONALGALERIE 2017
29 September, 2017 to 14 January, 2018
Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin, Germany

This year, Sol Calero (born 1982 in Caracas), Iman Issa (born 1979 in Cairo), Jumana Manna (born 1987 in Princeton) and Agnieszka Polska (born in 1985 in Lublin) have been nominated for the Preis der Nationalgalerie 2017 by an international jury. The museum prize is awarded every two years and pays tribute to artists under 40 who live and work in Germany. All four artistic positions, which are presented in a joint exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin, are not just engaged in a purely artistic discourse. Producing art spanning several media at once, they rather use their work to reflect social processes.
Waqas Khan
WAQAS KHAN
30 September, 2017 to 25 February, 2018
Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, UK 

Waqas Khan's minimalist drawings resemble webs and celestial expanses. Inspired by patterns of biological organic growth and also by the lives and literature of Sufi poets, his work is a meditation on life, togetherness and the universe. His contemplation is made visible in ink on paper and his work invites our contemplation. Using small dashes and minuscule dots, his large-scale, monochromatic works are composed of either red, blue, white or black ink. In a carefully created installation, the visitor is led around the space from small scale drawings, to a large scale floor based work, to new drawings made especially for Manchester.
Hassan Hajjaj_ La Caravane
HASSAN HAJJAJ: LA CARAVANE
5 October, 2017 to 7 January, 2018
Somerset House, London, UK

A homecoming exhibition of the British-Moroccan artist, showcasing his vibrant fusion of contemporary cultures through new and celebrated works.
Born and raised in Larache, Hajjaj moved to the UK aged twelve, but has spent much of his life travelling between the two countries and cultures. His artworks reflect his nomadic lifestyle and the relationships he has formed with a variety of characters along the way, from musicians to artists and athletes to street performers.
Sanctuary
SANCTUARY

The notion of sanctuary-both physical and psychological-has been fundamental in shaping a sense of selfhood and social identity throughout human history. But in an era of increasing global migration and rising nationalism, the right to safe haven is under threat, and the necessity for compassion is greater than ever. For its latest presentation of art about place, FOR-SITE invited 36 artists from 21 different countries to design contemporary rugs reflecting on sanctuary, offering visitors a multiplicity of perspectives on the basic human need for refuge, protection, and sacred ground.
Age of Terror_ Art since 9_11
AGE OF TERROR: ART SINCE 9/11
26 October, 2017 to 28 May, 2018
IWM London, UK

See the UK's first major exhibition of artists' responses to war and conflict since the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001. Age of Terror: Art since 9/11 will feature more than 40 British and international artists, including Ai Weiwei, Grayson Perry, Gerhard Richter, Jenny Holzer, Mona Hatoum, Alfredo Jaar, Coco Fusco and Jake & Dinos Chapman.
The complex issues surrounding the global response to 9/11, the nature of modern warfare and the continuing state of emergency in which we find ourselves have become compelling subject matter for contemporary artists.
EVENTS & CONFERENCES
Eight Stories from the Sursock Museum Collection
Tour: EIGHT STORIES FROM THE SURSOCK MUSEUM COLLECTION
5 October, 2017, 18:00 to 19:00
Sursock Museum, Beirut, Lebanon

This new hang of the permanent collection takes the form of eight stories told by 23 artists. They, at times, are in dialogue around a specific theme, or else reject and disregard one another. The stories are inspired from research in the Sursock Museum's archives. This by no means exhaustive research evokes a history fragmented in time and space, comprised of eight chapters which open up to a broader reflection. An additional section is dedicated to recent acquisitions and donations, to be exhibited in rotation.
Partitions et Couleurs _ Hommage _ Amine El Bacha
Tour: PARTITIONS ET COULEURS: HOMMAGE À AMINE EL BACHA
5 October, 2017, 19:00 to 20:00
Sursock Museum, Beirut, Lebanon
 
A leading figure on the Lebanese artistic scene, Amine El Bacha (b. 1932, Beirut) lives and works in Beirut. After studies at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts in Beirut, and both the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts and Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris, El Bacha later trained several generations of now renowned Lebanese artists.
This tribute brings together a series of oil paintings, watercolors, and painted wooden objects created between the 1960s and the first decade of the 21st century.
Venice Biennale and the Arab World
Conference: VENICE BIENNALE AND THE ARAB WORLD
19-20 October, 2017
Università Ca' Foscari, Venice, Italy

This  2-day conference wants to investigate where contemporary art from the Arab world is heading to and the role played by Venice as a long-term showcase for the international art scene. Placing the Biennale at centre-stage and taking the artworks and installations of artists from the Arab world as a source of inspiration, the purpose of the conference is to create an intellectual platform which would bring together academics, artists and professionals actively engaged in the field of Modern and Contemporary Art in the Arab world.
Download the Poster
Lecture: IN BETWEEN PLACES: MAKING CONTEMPORARY ART IN HE MIDDLE EAST
25 October, 2017, 17:30 to 19:00
Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA, US
 
Contemporary art in the Middle East can be seen as the continuation of a historical tradition of Islamic art or as a radical break with the past; as a market-driven phenomenon fueled by the wealth of a new Persian Gulf-based clientele or as a searing critique of the social and political conditions of the region. 
In this lecture, Glenn D. Lowry, director of New York's Museum of Modern Art, uses the idea of "in between-ness" as a social, political, and geographical metaphor to suggest how many artists from the region, including Bouchra Khalili, Oraib Toukan, Wael Shawky, Walid Raad, and Rania Stephan, among others, have developed strategies to make art that is at once rooted in local concerns and engaged with universal issues. 

ART MATTERS 

The use of animals in art is of course not new and can range from benign depictions of furry creatures to the much more sensitive topic of tackling themes of cruelty, often leading to the removal of art works (such as at the Guggenheim in New York recently) or the closure of an exhibition.  This month we examine some of these pertinent issues. 
 



When Is It Okay to Use Animals in Art_
 
 
 
WHAT'S INSPIRING THIS MONTH

Marc Balakjian obituary

Marc Balakjian obituary
Award-winning artist and printmaker who resurrected the obscure medium of mezzotint, once popular for reproducing Constables and Turners

Two months before his death at the age of 79, the artist Marc Balakjian visited Armenia for the first time to discover his cultural inheritance. His parents had fled to Lebanon from the genocide of Armenia, started by the Turks in 1915. The Armenian diaspora has lived with a sense of unfinished business and injustice ever since, and this history influenced Marc's work.
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