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Aug. 4, 2011

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OMG, it’s only the beginning of August but the avant-garde, it’s always getting a jump on things. Thus, herewith, a listing of just some of the art fairs and biennials that are fast coming upon us in September 2011.

* Dublin Contemporary, Sept. 6-Oct. 31, 2011, presents over 90 artists at venues across the historic city in what is billed as Ireland’s “first major international contemporary art event.” Co-curators Christian Viveros-Faune and Jota Castro have selected the theme “Terrible Beauty -- Art, Crisis, Change & the Office of Non-Compliance,” inspired (the first two words, anyway) by Dublin native William Butler Yeats’call for Irish independence, Easter, 1916.  

Among the highlights are a titanic sculpture by Thomas Hirschhorn, Nina Berman’s “Marine Wedding” series of photos of a wounded Iraq war veteran, a large-scale sculpture of a giant squid by David Zink Yi, a new commission by Brian O’Doherty, and exhibitions of photographer Willie Doherty and painters Alice Neel and Lisa Yuskavage.

Hip collaborative groups from around the globe are also taking part: Bruce High Quality Foundation (U.S.), Claire Fontaine (France), Goldiechiari (Italy), Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor (Ireland) and Superflex (Denmark). The so-called Office of Non-Compliance is designed as “a promoter of ideas around a laundry list of non-conformist art proposals.”

Irish artists on board, in addition to those previously mentioned, include James Coleman, Maired O’hEocha, Niamh O’Malley, Brian Maguire and Corban Walker. Tickets are €15.

* ShContemporary 2011, Sept. 8-10, 2011, the fifth edition of Shanghai’s own contemporary art fair, now under the direction of Massimo Torrigiani, brings approximately 90 dealers -- two-thirds of them Chinese or with spaces in China (including James Cohan and Pace Beijing) -- to the Shanghai Exhibition Center. Out-of-town participants include Eigen + Art (Berlin, Leipzig), Greenaway (Adelaide), Nature Morte (Delhi) and Schuebbe Projects (Dusseldorf).

The fair boasts special projects developed by Arthub Asia (Defne Ayas, Davide Quadrio, Qiu Zhijie), including “Hot Spots” (monumental projects), “Now Ink” (new ink painting and calligraphy), “First Issue” (new Chinese artists), a video room and more.

* Lyon Biennial 2011, Sept. 15-Dec. 31, 2011, presents 78 artists from 23 countries under the direction of Argentinian curator Victoria Noorthorn. The 11th iteration of the show takes the theme of "A Terrible Beauty Is Born" -- W.B. Yeats must be more popular than ever, since the phrase comes from his poem Easter, 1916, as does the title of Dublin Contemporary. The fair takes place across four venues: La Sucrière, the Fondation Bullukian, the Musée d'art contemporain de Lyon and the T.A.S.E. factory.

Participating artists include Guillaume Bijl, Pierre Bismuth, John Cage, Marlene Dumas, Morton Feldman, Robert Filliou, Alberto Giacometti, Arturo Herrera, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, the Otolith Group, Tracey Rose, Neal Tait and Javier Tellez.

* Houston Fine Art Fair, Sept. 16-18, 2011, brings the global art market to the biggest town in Texas via ca. 80 galleries at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The HFAF promises a special focus on Latin American Art. The gala preview on Sept. 15 (tickets: $100) benefits the Houston MFA. General admission to the fair, a production of Rick Friedman’s Hamptons Expo Group, is $17.

New York City participants include Babcock, Haunch of Venison, Hollis Taggart, Schroeder Romero Shredder, Margaret Thatcher, Pavel Zoubok and ULAE. Also visiting from out-of-state are Caprice Horn (Berlin), Grimaldis (Baltimore), David Lusk (Memphis), Lowenstein (Miami), Douglas Dawson (Chicago), Frey Norris (San Francisco) and Ginocchio (Mexico City), among others.

* Art Beat Istanbul, Sept. 14-18, 2011, the new contemporary art fair parallel to the Istanbul Biennial, is headed by Turkish contemporary art mover and shaker Arhan Kayar. Located in the Lüfti Kirdar Convention and Exhibition Centre, the fair presents almost 30 galleries, most of them Turkish -- galleries in Istanbul number in excess of 250, Kayar says -- ranging from 44A, Artsumer and Galerist to Soda and X-ist.

* 12th Istanbul Biennial, Sept. 17-Nov. 13, 2011, organized by Sao Paolo critic and curator Adriano Pedrosa and CAA Wattis director Jens Hoffmann, is dubbed “Untitled” but promises to “explore the relationship between art and politics.” At this late date, the names of the artists in the show have yet to be published, either for the 45 solo presentations or the five group shows.

We do know, however, that the group shows are to be organized by themes based on the titles of works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres: “Untitled (Passport),” “Untitled (Ross),” “Untitled (Death by Gun),” “Untitled (Abstraction)” and “Untitled (History).”

And, in pursuit of the mystery, a blog has ferreted out a good number of names, including Allora & Calzadilla, Kutlug Ataman, Mark Bradford, Tom Burr, Matt Collishaw, Claire Fontaine, Mona Hatoum, Ernesto Neto, Rivane Neuenschwander, Raymond Pettibon, Mungo Thompson and Elmgreen and Dragset.

* 15th Art Moscow, Sept. 21-25, 2011, brings about 40 galleries to the Central House of Artists. The big local players are there -- Guelman, Triumph, XL, Aidan -- plus Collage Habana and La Acacia (Havana), Forsblom (Helsinki), Shiraishi (Tokyo) and Zvono (Belgrade), among others.

* Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Sept. 22-Oct. 30, 2011, now in its fourth edition, features 80 artists from more than 20 countries, selected to the theme “Rewriting Worlds” by curator Peter Weibel, head of the Center for Art and Media in Karsruhe. According to commissioner Joseph Backstein, the exhibition is designed to “show how different approaches to how media can be used in the contemporary artistic process, as well as types of art that are deliberately critical of the role of technology and media in the life of modern civilization.”

Participants include Kader Attia, Chen Chieh-jen, EVOL, Claire Fontaine, Susan Hiller, Rebecca Horn, Manabu Ikeda, Shilpa Gupta, Armin Linke, Fabian Marcaccio, Neo Rauch, Rosangela Renno and Ai Weiwei.

Russian artists in the biennale are the Blue Soup Group, Electroboutique Group, Learning Film Group, as well as artists Valery Chtak, Alina Gutkina, Olga Kiseleva, Taisiya Korotkova, Taus Makhacheva, Yelena Yelagina and Igor Makarevich and others.

The primary venues, ARTPLAY Design Center, and TSUM Art Foundation, are both in central Moscow; the show also counts 60 special projects at various venues, as well as projects in four other cities, including Kiev and London.

* Joburg Art Fair, Sept. 23-25, 2011, now in its fourth year, brings 23 galleries to the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. This year the fair inaugurates the FNB Art Prize, a 100,000 Rand award (about $14,700) sponsored by the First National Bank.

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