What to do at Art Dubai 2011

Discuss paintings, buy art and drive the ArtBus around Dubai


Be a part of an art and fashion discussion
From March 16-18, the Global Art Forum will present a series of talks (more suitable for those with an active interest in art) under the title ‘Fascination: When Art Met Fashion’, ‘On Collecting’ and ‘Changing Audiences’. Speakers include Art Forum editor-in-chief Jack Bankowsky, ‘the artist with a camera in his head’ Wafaqa Bilal, and superstar curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, among many others. This free initiative, now several years old, has rendered Art Dubai an event where many ideas converge and develop.
March 16-18, 2pm-5pm, Fort Island, Madinat Jumeirah.

Buy art you can afford
New to Art Dubai this year is the DXB store, a not-for-profit space selling limited-edition products, artists’ multiples and plenty of newly commissioned objects. It will likely be the best museum store you’ve ever visited.
Running throughout Art Dubai.

See site-specific installations
‘Site-specific’ is a fancy way of describing an artwork that is designed with the location in mind, and Art Dubai has commissioned three young artists to create installations examining the nature of art fairs. The three are Iranian Abbas Akhavan (remember his gold leaf map of Dubai?); Jordanian Oraib Toukan, known for her mixed-media works that critique political structures, and Syrian photographic artist
Hrair Sarkissian: his haunting images of the empty sites of capital punishment in three different Syrian cities stand out.
Around Art Dubai throughout the fair.

Get on the bus
Stepping outside the Madinat Arena, the Art Bus is a great initiative because a) it means you don’t have to stress about finding all the galleries and b) the guided tours mean you’ll learn a lot more than if you were to take yourself around the exhibitions without a guide. The bus itself is a work of art – its exteriors feature exclusive works from Emirati artists Sheikha bin Daina, Saeed Al-Madani and Zeinab Alhashemi (the work pictured is called ‘Pearl Tale’). On March 16-19, buses will be running to the Sharjah Biennal, departing Souk Madinat Jumeirah at 10am and heading to Al Qasba, which houses the Maraya Art Centre, the Barjeel Art Foundation and the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation. After lunch it will then head to the Sharjah Biennial, a great chance to see the commissioned artist projects. One bus will head back at 5pm, and the other after the Biennial’s evening performances. From March 17-19 there will also be two additional buses, one heading to Al Quoz, and one to Al Bastakiya and DIFC – both leave at 10am and feature lunch stops as well as more than a dozen galleries.
Tickets Dhs50 (excluding lunch). See www.artinthecity.com for more info, or buy online at www.timeouttickets.com.

See very expensive art
The Abraaj Capital Art Prize is the only art award specifically aimed at the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, and the only prize in the world to reward proposals rather than completed works. This year, five creative minds (instead of the usual three) have been tasked with taking their share of the Dhs3.7 million prize money to create something special. This year we’ll see works from Kuwaiti artist Hamra Abbas, Iraqi Jananne Al-Ani, Pakistani-Indian Brit Shezad Dawood, Tunisian Nadia Kaabi Linke and Iranian/German Timo Nasseri. The works will cover all media and are sure to be something special, but be warned that some of last year’s works bewildered the average viewer. Works are unveiled at the start of the fair and will be dotted throughout the Madinat.
See www.abraajcapitalartprize.com for info.

The lowdown

Tuesday March 15
7pm-9.30pm Patron’s preview (invitation only)

Wednesday March 16
11.30am-3pm Ladies-only preview
4pm-9.30pm Opening night (invitation only)

Thursday March 17
4pm-9.30pm Public day

Friday March 18
Noon-7.30pm Public day

Saturday March 19
Noon-5.30pm Public day

Art Dubai takes place at the Madinat Arena. Admission is Dhs50, and tickets can be bought on the door. For more info, see www.artdubai.ae, or pick up Time Out’s special Art Week supplement, free with
paid-for copies of this week’s magazine.

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