week of February 14, 2015

Middle East dominates two major art fairs

Camilla Greene
Sharjah Biennial
Edge of Arabia
The Armory Show
Art Jameel

The Armory Show, one of the most important art events in New York, is zoning in on the Middle East region for its 2015 Focus section. The work of historically significant greats such as Saloua Choucair and Dia Al Azzawi can be seen along with contemporary leading lights, including Mona Hatoum, Ahmed Mater and Wafaa Bilal. Also showcased is the first leg of CULTURUNNERS, Edge of Arabia’s ongoing collaboration with Art Jameel that consists of art produced through a three-year cross-cultural tour of the USA. Noah Horowitz, executive director of The Armory Show said: “This year’s focus initiative will help shine light on a thriving part of the contemporary art world which to date has achieved only limited visibility in the American market.”

Intensifying the spotlight on Middle East art is Sharjah Biennial 12 (SB12), timed this year to coincide with Armory Week. SB12’s curator Eungie Joo said: “I wanted to present works that stepped away from the burden of the past and the nostalgic and focused instead on the present.” Unified under the show’s title The past, the present the possible, SB12 boasts selections from one of the region’s first abstract expressionists, Fahr El-Nissa Zeid, new works from several household names, including Etel Adnan and Hassan Khan, as well as art by Hassan Sharif, exemplifying UAE modernism from the 1980s. 

Read more about The Armory Show's focus on the Middle East here

Learn all about Sharjah Biennial


Image, courtesy Sharjah BiennialKalba Ice Factory, Sharjah Biennial 12 site, Kalba, Sharjah, UAE.