Contemporary Art in the Middle East: Art Now: Recent Exhibitions

There has been a proliferation of exhibitions of contemporary Middle Eastern art both in the region and abroad. This session will be dedicated to presentations by curators and artists reflecting on recent exhibitions and curatorial projects. Speakers include: Stuart Comer, Suzanne Cotter, Catherine David, November Paynter, Khalil Rabah and Andrew Renton.

Contemporary Art in the Middle East: Tradition and Modernity

What were the specific conditions out of which modern and contemporary art emerged in the Middle East? How have ideas about tradition and modernity played out within this context? This session looks at how definitions of tradition and modernity have shifted over time and in different national contexts in the Middle East.

Keynote speaker: Salah Hassan

Panel discussion with: Salah Hassan, Khalil Rabah (artist and director, Riwaq Biennale, Ramallah), Dr Khalid Khreis (director, Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman), Dina Ramadan (PhD student, Columbia University), Abdul-Raheem Sharif (founder, The Flying House, Dubai) and Michael Rakowitz (artist). Chaired by Vasif Kortun (curator and director, Platform, Istanbul)

Contemporary Art in the Middle East: The Politics of Space

What will be the impact of new and emerging spaces for seeing and exhibiting modern and contemporary art in different parts of the Middle East? This session looks at the spatial politics of art in the Middle East from major architectural developments in the Gulf such as Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi to more fluid institutional spaces for art such as the Sharjah Biennial and the ‘Home Works’ international forum in Beirut.

Keynote speaker: Shumon Basar

Panel discussion with: Shumon Basar, Jack Persekian (artistic director, Sharjah Biennial and director, Al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art), Wael Shawky (artist), William Wells (director,Townhouse Gallery, Cairo), Oreet Ashery (artist and fellow at Queen Mary University), Suha Shoman (founder, Darat al Funun, Amman), Christine Tohme (curator and founder, Ashkal Alwan.Chaired by Jack Persekian.

A two-day symposium bringing together artists, curators and writers to discuss recent developments in art from the region, with key questions including: How do we define the Middle East? How do differing interpretations of recent art from the region and its diaspora influence the way it is understood both at home and abroad? How have ideas about tradition and modernity emerged in art practice? And what is the impact of new and emerging contemporary art spaces?