Sunday, 31 March 2013

Art In the City 2013

A couple of weeks ago  was ART Week in the U.A.E. That means that there are so very many wonderful events across the Emirates that you cannot possible get to all of them. A dilema and tooooooo dreadful for words.

I took the easy route and stuck to the same thing that I did last year. Click here for lasts years’ experience.

I asked Bryan to book us onto the Art Bus for Al Quoz. He booked us onto the Art Bus for DIFC/Downtown. No worries it is a small deviation and the principal is the same.

We had a lovely surprise when we clambered on board our bus to find that one of the ArtBus guides was one of Bryan's Theatre friends who we are ,coincidentally, having dinner with this week - our guides had the unenviable task of looking after a bunch of people hell bent on Art. Herding cats my dears, that is all I can say.
Our first stop was The Pavilion Downtown Dubai

Hanford Site of U.S. Department of Energy Southeastern Washington State - Radioactive waste storage

Here we saw two great, interesting and informative photographic exhibitions by Taryn Simon entitled "An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar" a beautifully put together exhibition and "Contraband" a fly on the wall pictorial record of what the US customs officials confiscate at their nations borders. To be honest more informative than artistic but hey I am not complaining it is beautifully presented, really interesting and well curated.

The Pavilion - Bus Companions -checking out the contraband - I am in the left hand corner keenly peering at banned substances.

The Ara Gallery is in a spot Downtown that is a great alternative view of the fountains and the Burj Khalifa.

The ARA Gallery Entrance - Downtown -loving the graphics

The newly opened Alif Art Gallery showing Timur D’Vatz’s work, was on reflection, my favourite stop for a particular Artist’s work. I loved the style and colour of all his pieces and would have moved into the gallery for a week or two just to be able to absorb the art.

Alifart Gallery. Golden Forest Hunt - Timur D'Vatz
The XVA gallery exhibition was art in capital bollocky letters. I say that because I can't see all that well without my glasses so to have an exhibition that is predominately shadowy out of focus pictures is ANNOYING and a reminder of one too many episodes of trying to thread a needle / read street directions that I can't see.


XVA Gallery the one thing that was not out of focus.....

Another fave of the day was Zena Assi showing at Art Sawa. Bryan said he got it because he has read  Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis. I am so not going to that head space..... I have not read Metamorphosis but I still  loved the Art. More on my shallow take on art later....

Loved this -bugs life

Art Space Gallery

Roberto Lopardo of The Cuadro Fine Art Gallery was a warm and welcoming host. It is a large gallery and we did not have a lot of time. I wish we could have had a bit longer in this gallery for two reasons, there were a few exhibitions running and we really did not have time to see them all properly and secondly because listening to Roberto talk about each artist and their work was a delight There was an exhibition of work which was in essence scratched paper, mostly scratched white paper. Lots of it. I could not help but think of Jasmina Reza’s play - ART. I loved the scratched paper. We both loved Roberto’s photographic montage of Beirut. Here the artist takes a picture a minute for 24 hours as he wanders about the city. No photo-shop here darlings. An amazing undertaking beautifully rendered and the picture here does not do it justice. Some things you have to see big and bold.

Our tour had a lunch break of about an hour and really DIFC is a lovely area to have an out-door café style lunch at this time of the year. The stunning architecture and the sound of running water has a strangely calming effect for such an urban environment. Bryan and I shared lazy relaxing meal at Café Bateel of a platter of antipasti , followed by a pasta before strolling back to our tour for an afternoon of more Art.
At Ayyam Gallery we were treated to an show from Afshin Pirhashemi. His work is a sort of photo realism / hyper realism meets Sara Moon. sounds dreadful but is WONDERFUL and evocative.

Ayyam Gallery - foreground our lovely guides - background " the Wrong Woman Exhibition" - Afshin Prihashemi.
Picture taken from tweet by Dubai Calendar.

Another whistle stop tour was at The Moving Museum  where we saw an eclectic mix of art.
Watch this clip of Tall Painting. To be honest, the process is much prettier than the  dry end result....
A treat was in store for us. I have seen  pictures of Evan Penny's  work and been  intrigued so imagine my delight when  I saw his work up close and personal. I could not believe from the pictures that the "sculptures" could possible translate into how they were described. But the work lives up to the hype.

The Moving Museum - Evan Penny and Bryan.....

On our bus was a lovely lady from Dubai Calendar, who very kindly gave us two comp tickets to Art Dubai so when our tour ended we had a wander around the Exhibition Hall OOOO -ing and Ahh- ing at what was on offer.
On a small rant, I really do not like it when prices are not shown for work that is for sale. If you are in the business of selling it is a good idea to show a price. Only the very foolishly wealthy (and I don’t think there can be many financially successful people like that about) don’t care what something costs. Haggling in a souk is all well and good but if you are going to haggle at a Prestigious Art Event or Gallery at least lend the negotiation a bit of dignity by giving the punters a starting point. That is my rant of the day done. Oh who am I kidding…. There is nothing more pretentious than a well-heeled buyer of art as opposed to a deep pocketed lover of art so maybe I should just wind my neck in. Most artists, of every stripe, the world over talk about how art needs to be accessible how it should be for everyone and yet to see the way the way some gallery representatives defensively pose and posture around their tiny territory forced to putting up with the art lovers that are clearly not going to buy the art is sad. Share the beauty darlings.  

Art Dubai - Sorry

Art Dubai - Nightmare or Dream?

Crochet Bus  ( not the Artbus) at the end of the day outside Souk Madinat - My heart was singing Look at the smile on the bus... Bryan not so keen to pose.

I think, quite often, after an event such as this that I should attend some of the talks and then I remember that I am not much interested in why an artist felt moved to draw, depict, make a statement  through or about their work. I just like pretty / beautiful  things. Sad, shallow, and true.  I come from a family of creative arty farty types whom I love dearly so I may incur the wrath of all of them by having said that and by saying this.... I have noticed that while an artist believes that the motivation makes their art I have seen works unloved by the artist that I adore (and must have) and I have seen work that the artist finds deep and meaningful to them that I think is rubbish on many levels. Does this say something about me, or artists, or maybe both?
We had a really lovely day on our Artbus tour, as I knew we would. I will be back next year, of course.

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