NEW TWIST IN CHRISTIE’S/CHINA DISPUTE
The auction world was all astir last week after Cai Mingchao, the winning bidder for two Qing dynasty Chinese bronzes from the Yves Saint Laurent-Pierre Bergé Collection sold at Christie’s Paris on Feb. 23-25, 2009, turned out to be a saboteur who bid falsely, with the deliberate intention of disrupting the proceedings as a statement about the legacy of colonialism [see Artnet News, Mar. 3, 2009]. Official Chinese sources called the stunt "a lesson to the world, including the French people."
Now, the Economist reports that another of the top bidders was, in fact, a "London-based Chinese businessman who bid up to €12,000,000 ($15.1 million) on both pieces," with the intention of donating the historically important sculptures to China (they are part of a Chinese zodiac set, five of which have already been returned to their native land). According to the magazine, he was the next highest bidder for at least one of the two lots.
ART PERFORMANCE DEBUTS ON FACEBOOK
Performance art has definitely entered its 2.0 phase. Facebook, the increasingly popular online social-networking tool, is now the site for a day-long online performance by Boston artist Rachel Perry Welty. Called Rachel Is, the performance takes place via Facebook’s signature "status bar," which Facebook users routinely fill in to mark their mood, activity or general presence. Welty promises to update her status every minute for about 16 hours, from the time she gets up in the morning till she goes to sleep at night. "My hope is to raise questions about narcissism, voyeurism, privacy, identity and authority in a technological world," she writes. To view the performance, however, computer-savvy art-lovers have to join Facebook and request to become one of Welty’s friends -- which suggests that at least part of the artist’s activities will be Facebook "housekeeping."
9TH SHARJAH BIENNIAL ON TAP
The Arab world’s own biennial kicks off next week in Sharjah, the capital city of the third largest of the United Arab Emirates. The Sharjah Biennial 9, Mar. 16-May 16, 2009, presents works by more than 80 artists and performers in "Provisions for the Future," an exhibition overseen by Portuguese curator Isabel Carlos, and "Past of the Coming Days," a film program selected by Tarek Abou El Fetouh, director of the Young Arab Theatre Fund in Brussels. Artistic directors of the biennial are Sharjah Art Museum curator Hoor Al Qasimi and the Jerusalem-based freelance curator Jack Persekian. The biennial is installed at the Sharjah Art Museum, the Sharjah Museum for Arabic Contemporary Art, and several other sites across the city. For more details, see www.sharjahbiennial.com
The artists in "Provisions for the Future" are Hamra Abbas (Boston), Haig Aivazian (Dubai), Reem Al Ghaith (Dubai), Diana Al Hadid (Brooklyn), Jawad Al Malhi (Jerusalem), Basma Al Sharif (Cairo), Halil Altindere (Istanbul), Juan Araujo (Caracas), Tarek Atoui (Amsterdam), Samira Badran (Barcelona), Doris Bittar (San Diego), Melissa Chimera & Adele NeJame (Hawaii), Eugenio Dittborn (Santiago de Chile), Lili Dujourie (Gent), Alberto Duman (London), Hala Elkoussy (Amsterdam), Haris Epaminonda (Berlin), Ayse Ermen (Istanbul), Sophie Ernst (Bussum), Amir H. Fallah (Los Angeles), Lara Favaretto (Turin), Lamya Gargash (Dubai), Mariam Ghani & Erin Ellen Kelly (Brooklyn), Simryn Gill (Sydney), Sheela Gowda (Bangalore), Laurent Grasso (Paris), Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige (Beirut), NS Harsha (Mysore), Doug Henders (New York), Agnes Janich (Warsaw), Lamia Joreige (Beirut), Fernando José Pereira (Porto), Narelle Jubelin (Madrid), Nadia Kaabi Linke (Berlin), Hayv Kahraman (Phoenix), Nikolaj Bendix, Skyum Larsen (London), Maider Lopez (San Sebastian), Robert MacPherson (Brisbane), Lani Maestro (Caen), Firoz Mahmud (Tokyo), Waheeda Malullah (Manama), José Luis Martinat (Malmo), Hiroyuki Masuyama (Düsseldorf), Gita Meh (Dubai), Giuseppe Moscatello (Sharjah), Nika Oblak & Primõz Novak (Ljubljana), Liliana Porter (New York), Karin Sander (Berlin), Nida Sinnokrot (Madrid), Valeska Soares (Brooklyn), David Spriggs (Montreal), Ana Vidigal (Lisbon), Sharif Waked (Haifa), Liu Wei (Beijing), Lawrence Weiner (New York), Jane & Louise Wilson (London) and Yonamine (Lisbon).
ART DUBAI LAUNCHES THIRD EDITION
With the third installment of Art Dubai, Mar. 18-21, 2009, the Arab world proves itself to be a market well worth cultivating by the global art world. Almost 70 galleries from two dozen countries set up at the deluxe Madinat Jumeirah hotel in Dubai, including Almine Rech (Brussels), Breenspace (Sydney), Bodhi Art (Mumbai), Francesca Minini (Milan), Perrotin (Paris), Krinzinger (Vienna), Thomas (Munich), Kakgojae (Seoul), Rossi & Rossi (London), SCAI (Tokyo), Sfeir-Semler (Hamburg, Beirut), and Triumph (Moscow).
Dealers from the USA include Goff + Rosenthal, Edwynn Houk, L&M Arts, Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller and Max Protetch. Middle Eastern players include Artspace (Dubai), Atassi Gallery (Damascus), Athr Gallery (Saudi Arabia), Ayyam Gallery (Dubai, Damascus), B21 (Dubai), Elementa (Dubai), Hunar Gallery (Dubai), Silk Road Gallery (Tehran), Third Line (Dubai) and Townhouse Gallery (Cairo).
For the third year, too, the fair is hosting a Global Art Forum, a day-long art symposium featuring an illustrious group of art professionals. Following a welcome by Roger Mandle, the former Rhode Island School of Design president who now heads the Qatar Museums Authority in Doha, the several panels include Moscow art-space founder Maria Baibakova, Städel Museum director Max Hollein, Serpentine Gallery curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, Hermitage Museum head Mikhail Piotrovsky, Palais de Tokyo director Marc Olivier Whaler, and others.
CALL FOR PRINT ARTISTS
The Northern Print Biennale in the U.K. has issued a call for entries to its 2009 edition, to be held June 26-Oct. 4, 2009. Held as part of a culture festival across the Newcastle-Gateshead region, the biennale is open to British or international artists whose work relates to printmaking in any way. Fifty winners of the Biennale’s "2009 Print Awards" (sponsored by Bonhams) are to be featured in an exhibition spread between Hatton Gallery, Laing Art Gallery and Northern Print, while one grand prize winner takes £5,000. Information about how to apply is available online at www.parkerharris.co.uk. Artists be forewarned, there is a £20 fee to apply.
ART FOR IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR
Worthy show of the month: the just-opened "2,191 Days and Counting," Mar. 5-22, 2009, at Powerhouse Arena, located at 27 Main Street in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood. Organized by Maya Joseph-Goteiner and Chere Krakovsky, the exhibition is a benefit for Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), with a portion of all sales going to support the activity of the anti-war group. The show’s closing date, Mar. 22, 2009, marks the sixth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion.
A wide array of artists chipped in for the cause: Danya Abt, Grace Ann Alfiero, Waleed Arshad, Carole Ashley, Perry Bard, Nina Berman, Wafaa Bilal, Jean Christian Bourcart, Sherrard Bostwick, Orna Bradshaw, Pam Butler, Doris Caçoilo, Drew Cameron, Damian Catera, Susanna Coffey, Michael Courvoisier, Carla Cubit, Larry Cyr, Peter Delman, Alyssa Dreyfus, Elise Engler, Danielle Fotopoulos, Marilyn Freeman, Joy Garnett, Ariel Goldberg, Sam Gould, Mathieu Grandjean, Lori Grinker, Fariba Hajamadi, Maxine Henryson, John Paul Hornbeck, Tara Hughes-Hall, Rene Farkass, Jacob Goble, Basem Hassan, Diane Hodack, Aaron Hughes,Andrew Ellis Johnson, David Joseph-Goteiner, Wonder Koch, Joyce Kozloff, Dorothy Krakovsky, Jason Laning, Tyler Lee Zabe, Michael Vander Leeuw, Ju-Pong Lin, Ardele Lister, Melissa Macalpin, Kyla Mathis-Angress, Laura McCallum, Steve McCurry, Dato Mio, James Nachtwey, Nobuho Nagasawa, Aron Namenwirth, Farah Nosh, David Opdyke, Alexander Optivion, Zach Osif, Franc Palaia, Paul Park, Caroline Parker, John Paul, Kenneth Pietrobono, Grace Graupe-Pillard, Lucian Read, Paul Root, Martha Rosler, Erika Rothenberg, Hope Sandrow, Ilse Schreiber Noll, Laurie G. Selleck, Susan Silas, Elin O’Hara Slavick, Susanne Slavick, Qais Al-Sindy, Ilse Schreiber, Joan Snyder, Molly Snyder-Fink, Chrysanne Stathacos, Natalie Toney, Jon Turner, Betsy Van Die, Christopher Vongsawat, Nathaniel Ward, A.J. Wilhelm, Sarah Nelson Wright, Agnes Wszolkowski, The Yes Men, Suyeon Yun, Tyler Zabel, The Artists Against The War and The Combat Paper Project.