Briefing

Istanbul Biennial announces artists; Abounaddara say Milan Triennale showed work without consent; Beirut Arab Art Museum to open in 2020

Abounaddara, The Lady of Syria: Part 2, 2013, video still

Abounaddara, The Lady of Syria: Part 2, 2013, video still. Courtesy: the artists

Abounaddara, The Lady of Syria: Part 2, 2013, video still. Courtesy: the artists

The Istanbul Biennial has announced the list of artists for its 15th edition, titled ‘a good neighbour’. The line-up features 55 artists from 32 countries including Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Monica Bonvicini, Kaari Upson, Kemang Wa Lehulere and Bilal Yılmaz. The biennial, organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, runs from 16 September to 12 November 2017 and is curated by Berlin-based artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset: ‘The artists in the 15th Istanbul Biennial raise questions about ideas of home, neighbourhood, belonging and co-existence from multiple perspectives’, they said in a statement. You can see the full artist list here.

Cady Noland is suing three galleries over copyright infringement concerning her Log Cabin (1990) sculpture. Noland claims that copyright was infringed when a conservator was employed to carry out repairs on the sculpture without consultation – by replacing rotting components with new wood, the conservator in effect carried out a reproduction, Noland asserts. The suit names collector Wilhelm Schurmann, KOW Gallery of Berlin, dealer Chris D’Amelio, Galerie Michael Janssen (as well as Janssen himself). Noland has invoked the Visual Artist Rights Act which grants permission to visual artists to disown their work in particular contexts, including restorations due to ‘gross negligence’.

Syrian film collective Abounaddara have accused the curators of the current Milan Triennale for showing its films without consent. Abounaddara say they were approached late last year for inclusion in the triennale’s exhibition ‘La Terra Inquieta (The Restless Earth)’ but despite declining, their films made their way into the show. The triennale organizers say that the films are being streamed via Abounaddara’s Vimeo account and are therefore ‘available’ on the internet. The collective have warned that they will remove the online films in protest: ‘the Triennale of Milan is making use of films that deal with the Syrian struggle for dignity, to serve an aesthetic-political discourse on the “refugee crisis” from a Western point of view’, they said in a statement. You can read Christy Lange in frieze issue 178, April 2016, on how Abounaddara have deployed a strategy of ‘emergency cinema’ in which they have chosen to ‘invent new rules of representation’ and call for ‘the right to a dignified image’.

The British Art Market Federation have released a report on the health of the UK art market, finding it heavily reliant on trade with the EU. The report, prepared by Clare McAndrew’s Arts Economics, confirms the UK as hosting the second largest art market in the world, with an overall contribution to the British economy estimated at GBP£1.46 billion in 2016. Fifteen to 20% of purchases through British dealers and auctioneers go to EU buyers. Anthony Browne, chair of BAMF, said that the data ‘reinforces that the art market is something the government should care about’. 

The privately funded Beirut Arab Art Museum is set to open in 2020, becoming the Lebanese capital’s biggest art museum. The 10,000-15,000 square metre museum will house the collection of the Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation – one of the largest holdings of modern and contemporary art from the Middle East. It will join an expanding arts scene, with the Renzo Piano-designed Beirut City Museum already under construction. ‘We’d like to show a better face of this part of the planet’, Basel Dalloul, the director of the family art collection said. You can read our recent Postcard from Beirut by David Markus on how local artists are learning to grapple with a perpetually shifting socio-political landscape.

Last Wednesday, London’s PEER art space in East London named a community garden outside the gallery as Khadija’s Garden, in tribute to the artist Khadija Saye who was a victim of the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017. Saye fundraised for and planted the garden as part of the gallery’s refurbishment last year. Friends and mentors of Saye pay tribute to her extraordinary talent on the frieze website today.

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