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Global Art Forum 2010 explores ‘Crucial Moments'
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 18 - 03 - 2010

Launched in March 2007, the Global Art Forum gathers leading arts professionals to discuss pressing issues that affect art today and that define its future. Under the banner of “Crucial Moments,” this year's Forum addresses the practical outcomes and theoretical concerns of key themes shaping our contemporary culture.
Supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Forum's four-day program commenced in Doha Monday at the Museum of Islamic Art and is hosted by the Qatar Museum Authority. The Forum offers thought-provoking concepts, such as imagining an ideal future art school, exploring the global trend for temporary museums alongside intimate interviews with international superstar artists, including Indian painter M.F. Husain and Iraqi artist Dia Azzawi.
The day also marks the debut of Shumon Basar and Haig Aivazian's 5,000 Friends After the Rolodex, a performative mapping project that traces the progression of the Global Art Forum's 4-day run.
From Wednesday to Friday, Global Art Forum returns to its home at Madinat Beach, Art Dubai for three more days of lively conversation.
Wednesday began with a discussion centered on cultural practitioners who feature historical and archival aspects in their work. This panel, composed of top artists and curators, featured 2010 Abraaj Capital Art Prize recipient Hala Elkoussy, whose winning project will be on display at Art Dubai. Wednesday's program also addressed an impending crisis in global arts writing, with international writers and editors exploring the very real challenges facing media today.
Thursday showcased current trends in art patronage, with a keynote address entitled Building Regional Patronage in a Post-Crisis Moment by noted art patron Omar Ghobash, UAE Ambassador to Russia. The day also featured a rare opportunity to witness the legendary sculptor El Anatsui discuss his astonishing work and career in an intimate conversation with curator Okwui Enwezor.
This was followed by an intriguing debate over perceptions of art in Palestine, a ‘Palestine Syndrome', questioning how preconceptions and prejudices affect the region's art and how artists within the country relate to each other across geographical and ethnic divides.
Friday starts with another Modernist moment, this time recalling the exciting world of 1970s New York, when artists Vito Acconci, Dennis Oppenheim and Alice Aycock collaborated at 112 Green Street, a seminal space that pioneered performance and installation art practises.
Friday's program revisits the notion of patronage, through a fascinating conversation with Don and Mera Rubell, regarded as two of the most prolific and prescient collectors of the past forty years.
They are followed by a panel scrutinizing the relationship between patrons and institutions, and how those relationships will shape the growth of museums in the Middle East over the next few years. The 2010 Global Art Forum will conclude with a final presentation by 5000 Friends After the Rolodex, as Shumon Basar and Haig Aivazian discuss the outcomes of their performative mapping project.
Saeed Al-Nabouda, Chief Projects Officer at Dubai Culture, said the Global Art Forum serves as an effective bridge between the arts community and the public, bringing them together for meaningful dialogue.
Winners of the 2010 Abraaj Capital Art Prize are Egyptian artist Hala Elkoussy with curator Jelle Bouwhuis; Lebanese artist Marwan Sahmarani with curator Mahita El Bacha Urieta; and Algerian artist Kader Attia with curator Laurie Ann Farrell.
Supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, the Global Art Forum is free of charge and is hosted by the Qatar Museum Authority.

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