ArtistsBiennials & Triennials 05-12-2016

December 5 | Tamara Chalabi and Paolo Colombo to curate Iraqi pavilion at 57th Venice Biennale

More news of the Venice Biennale, stark comments from Putin, and a record for Villa Grisebach.

Curators announced for Iraqi Pavilion

The Ruya Foundation announced that Tamara Chalabi and Paolo Colombo will co-curate the Iraqi Pavillion at the 2017 Venice Biennale.


Chalabi is the chair and cofounder of Ruya, and Colombo is an art advisor at Istanbul Modern. Titled “Archaic,” their Venice project will explore the tensions and dichotomies that exist within the concept of the antiquated. As well as artifacts from the country’s past, the exhibition will feature modern and newly commissioned work by Iraqi artists. It will also include a specially commissioned work by the Belgian-born artist Francis Alÿs. The Venice Biennale will open on May 13, 2017. Find out more on Artforum.


Spotlight on Syrian art

Dubai’s leading contemporary arts hub Alserkal Avenue is collaborating with the Atassi Foundation to present an exhibition of modern and contemporary Syrian art.

The exhibition, titled “Syria: Into the Light,” will be launched during the coming Dubai Art Week, from March 9 through April 3, 2017. It will be curated by the co-founder of the Atassi Foundation Mouna Atassi, alongside curator Rasha Salti and exhibition designer Michel Zayat. The show will inaugurate Alserkal Avenue’s new 6,460-square-meter events space, designed by OMA architects. Artists expected to feature in “Syria: Into the Light” include Toufiq Tarek, Fateh Moudarres, Youssef Abdelke and Omran Younes. 


Entrance to Alserkal Avenue in Dubai, photo via The National 

Record sales

Berlin auction house Villa Grisebach has had its most successful auction ever on December 1, 2016.


The evening sale of 20th Century art totalled €21.6 million, affirming Griesback’s place at number 11 in the world according to the 2016 Art & Auction Listing of the 250 biggest auction houses. Lyonel Feininger’s Yellow Lane (1932) was the top lot of the evening, realizing €3.7 million, well over its estimate of €1 million. One of Max Beckmann’s still lifes came in second, selling for €3.1 million. Art Market Monitor has more.


Mnuchin leaves MOCA for Trump

Following his appointment as the next Treasury Secretary by President-elect Donald Trump, banker Steven Mnuchin resigned from the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s Board of Trustees.


A former Goldman Sachs partner, Mnuchin joined the museum’s Board of Trustees in December 2009. “Since I’ll be focusing my full-time efforts as nominee for Secretary of Treasury, I’ve decided to resign from MOCA’s Board of Trustees,” said Mnuchin. More via the Los Angeles Times.


Rebrand for Tel-Aviv gallery

Cohen & Schwartz — the Tel Aviv-based platform for contemporary art — has recruited a new team of directors and rebranded itself as Aleph Projects.


Founded by Laura Schwartz in 2015, the gallery operates without a permanent space, exhibiting its artists across a variety of different venues. Aleph Projects now features a larger number of artists, which include London-based Charley Peters, Spanish duo SIXNFIVE and Israeli artist Daniel Tsal. For more details see the press release.


Wolfgang Hahn Prize announces winner

American artist Trisha Donnelly has been named the winner of the 2017 Wolfgang Hahn Prize.


The prize is awarded annually by Cologne’s Museum Ludwig to exceptional contemporary artists. The prize includes a solo exhibition at the museum, which will open on April 25 and will be accompanied by a catalogue. The Museum Ludwig will also acquire works by the artist. Donnelly uses installation, performance, light and video to shift the viewer’s visual and temporal perception of the exhibition space. Last year the prize was awarded to two artists: R. H. Quaytman and Michael Krebber. ARTnews has more information.

Trisha Donnelly, installation view, 2008, via

Growing concerns over censorship in Russia

Vladimir Putin has worsened fears over government censorship of the arts in Russia by telling artists not to confuse freedom of expression with “outrageously dangerous behaviour.”


The Russian President made the comments during a televised debate with actor Yevgeny Mironov, who voiced concerns about the growing restrictions on artistic freedom. Putin also suggested that the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack that took place in Paris in 2015 could have been avoided if the magazine had not insulted Islam. The country has seen a spate of protests by religious conservatives, including calls for a production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” to be closed down. Further details on artdaily.

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