While this polar vortex has its way with New York, we’ve decided to turn our attention to all the things to come in the balmier months of the year. We’re not the only ones: this past week there were a surprising amount of updates regarding everything from March Meeting, the Global Art Forum, and a host of biennales.
We consider March Meeting a particular stroke of genius; running in the “off” years of the Sharjah Biennale, the series of panels and conversations keeps Sharjah (and the Sharjah Art Foundation) on the art world’s calendar. This year’s program runs from March 13-17 and features speakers like Sharjah Art Foundation’s Hoor Al-Qasimi, Sharjah Biennale’s next curator Eungie Joo, Kaelen Wilson-Goldie and a host of artists including Hassan Khan, Wael Shawky, Dahn Vo, Adrian Viller Rojas and (Pinchuk Future Generation Prize alum) Cinthia Marcelle. Check the full program here.
The week after, we suggest heading to Art Dubai, which runs from March 19-22. While we always enjoy the show, we are particularly stoked to see that Slavs and Tatars will be guest-curating this year’s Marker showcase, which focuses on emerging galleries from the Caucasus. Zeroing in on “the regime of portraiture,” the section will feature five art spaces from the region: ArtEast (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan); Asia Art (Almaty, Kazakhstan); North Caucasus Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Art, NCCA (Vladikavkaz, Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, Russia); Popiashvili Gvaberidze Window Project (Tbilisi, Georgia); and YARAT Contemporary Art Space (Baku, Azerbaijian). We’ve previously shot a few shout-outs in YARAT’s direction, after it, among other things, gave us a few reasons to love the region, so we can’t wait to check out what’s in store.
As if that weren’t enough of a draw, the fair runs concurrently to the Global Art Forum, another of our favorites. This year’s edition is titled “Meanwhile…History,” and is once more directed by the fabulous Shumon Basar, this year with some help from the also fabulous Omar Berrada and Ala Younis. A particular highlight of the program will be the “A Documenta Century” talk, which brings together Documenta curators past and present: Catherine David, newly-announced Adam Szymczyk, and the next curator of the Venice Biennale, Okwui Enwezor.
Of course, another alternative to the UAE is Sydney, which will be hosting the 19th Sydney Biennale. Curator Juliana Engberg has themed it the Euro-housey “You Imagine What You Desire,” and pumped the roster with Douglas Gordon (who will, perplexingly, be delivering a keynote speech. Those who’ve met Douglas can only imagine how he might interpret that assignment…), Gabriel Lester, John Stezaker, and Yael Bartana. The opening days will be full of events, including a performance by Tacita Dean and a reprise of Eglé Budvytytė‘s Choreography for the Running Male. More info can be found here.
Meanwhile, when Jessica Morgan was announced Chief Curator of the 2014 Gwangju Biennale, we knew we’d have fun. And we were right. This week Morgan and her team announced the theme: Burning Down the House. It’s not just a nod to “an anthem of bourgeois anxieties,” as the statement puts it:
Burning Down the House explores the process of burning and transformation, a cycle of obliteration and renewal witnessed throughout history. Evident in aesthetics, historical events, and an increasingly rapid course of redundancy and renewal in commercial culture, the Biennale reflects on this process of, often violent, events of destruction or self-destruction―burning the home one occupies―followed by the promise of the new and the hope for change.
It’s a little less fun to put this statement into another context: namely, Kyiv. We’ve mentioned the obstacles posed to David Elliott, curator of the last Kiev International Biennale of Contemporary Art ARSENALE (and upcoming Moscow Biennale of Young Art.) When the Mystetski Arsenale announced there would be a second biennale at all, we have to confess, we were a bit stunned. All the more so when it was announced that the two editors of the German magazine springerin, Hedwig Saxenhube and Georg Schöllhammer (who, as the head of the collective tranzit.at helped curate the New Museum‘s delightful and confounding “Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module.”) So far, it’s not certain if all is still on track, but we’re keeping an eye on Maidan.
In any case, plenty to keep us checking airfare.