The largest and most established contemporary art fair in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, Art Dubai takes place every year in March at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, and has become a cornerstone of the region’s fast-growing contemporary art community.
The sixth edition of Art Dubai, March 21-24, 2012, features over 75 galleries, includes leading galleries and dynamic young spaces from 31 countries across Europe, Americas, Middle East, Australia, Asia and Africa. New programme of artists’ residencies; commissioned projects; workshops; performative tours; the Abraaj Capital Art Prize; and the critically acclaimed Global Art Forum.
Art Dubai is part of Art Week 2012, an umbrella programme featuring Sikka, Design Days Dubai, and a multitude of art and design exhibitions, projects and major museum shows programmed by partner institutions in Dubai and across the Gulf.
“Art Dubai epitomizes the globalised phenomenon that is today’s art world,” said Antonia Carver, Fair Director, Art Dubai. “Over the past five years, the fair has become known as a site of discovery, and an essential meeting point on the art world calendar.” In 2011, Art Dubai welcomed over 20,000 visitors, including 60 international museum groups.
“The 2012 fair was oversubscribed, and the gallery selection process was particularly tough,” said Ms Carver. “The selection is limited to around 75 galleries – we’re aiming for a unique fair with a diverse, curated and intimate approach.”
New participants in 2012 include Arndt (Berlin), Rodolphe Janssen (Brussels), Lombard Freid Projects (New York), Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke (Mumbai), The Pace Gallery (New York, London, Beijing), Galerie Perrotin (Paris), and Platform China (Beijing).
Galleries returning from 2011 include Athr Gallery (Jeddah), Chantal Crousel (Paris), Experimenter (Kolkata), Goodman (Johannesburg, Capetown), Grey Noise (Lahore), Marianne Boesky Gallery (New York), Sfeir-Semler (Hamburg, Beirut) and The Third Line (Dubai).
Galleries planning artist focus shows include Mumbai’s Chemould Prescott Road, with new works by Shezad Dawood; Argentinian galleries GC Estudio de Arte and Galeria Teresa Anchorena with a stand featuring kinetic sculpture; and Impronte Contemporary Art (Milan), which specializes in contemporary video and photography from Central Asia.
Marker, the curated section of ‘concept stands’ launched in 2011, this year turns its focus to the Indonesian arts scene. Commissioned by Art Dubai, the renowned, Yogyakarta-born curator Alia Swastika has invited five Indonesian galleries – Ark Galerie, Biasa Artspace, Galerie Canna, D’Gallerie, and Jogja Contemporary – to participate; they are now working with artists to produce new work for the fair in March 2012.
Curator of the upcoming Jogja Biennial and one of the artistic directors of the 9th Gwangju Biennial, Ms Swastika commented: “Like the Middle East, Indonesia has witnessed the growth of an extraordinarily dynamic arts scene, where art is perceived not only as an integral part of life, but as a tool to reflect on society. Exhibiting at Art Dubai offers Indonesian artists a ‘connecting door’ to be a part of this new era in contemporary Muslim societies, and for the art world at large to get to know our artists, as they take to the international stage.”
Besides a stellar selection of international galleries, Art Dubai features an innovative, non-commercial programme of talks, projects and educational initiatives. The critically-acclaimed Global Art Forum, under the directorship of curator and writer Shumon Basar, expands to six days. It begins at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar, March 18-19, and continues at Art Dubai, March 21-24.
Highlights of Art Dubai Projects 2012 include a new artists’ and curator’s residency programme – a partnership between Art Dubai, the Delfina Foundation, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, and Tashkeel – plus commissioned site-specific works, performances, radio and research projects. The curator’s residency is in collaboration with ArtAsiaPacific. The participants will be announced early December.
Art Dubai is an anchor event within Art Week, which expands in 2012 to include a range of art and design events across the Gulf.