March 15–April 27, 2014
Contemporary Arab Video, Photography and Mixed Media Art
Houston, TX, USA
With more than a 100 exhibitions and events, FotoFest 2014 launches its 15th consecutive biennial of photography and photo-related art, March 15 to April 27, 2014 in Houston, Texas.
The centerpiece of the 2014 Biennial is four newly created exhibitions of Arab video, photography, and mixed media art—VIEW FROM INSIDE—presenting a broad array of programs on Arab art, society and politics.
The exhibitions present work from 50 leading Arab artists from the Middle East and North Africa—a generation of artists who turned from traditional forms of visual art in the late 1990s to begin experimenting with video, photography and mixed media. The effect of widespread access to satellite television, new forms of film, the Internet and social media over the past 15 years, and more immediate access to people and ideas around the world, has had a profound impact on Arab art.
“Few of these artists have been seen by audiences in the United States. We hope the biennial will build new and lasting bridges,” says FotoFest Senior Curator and Co-Founder Wendy Watriss. A full list of the artists featured in the FotoFest 2014 Biennial will be made available in January 2014.
With the biennial catalogue, a hardcover book will be done on the Arab exhibitions with essays by four European and Arab scholars and art experts, over 150 color reproductions of Arab artworks, artist and curator biographies, and a bibliography. The book is being published by Schilt Publishing in Amsterdam with FotoFest.
FotoFest’s Arab exhibits are accompanied by six weeks of Arab programs, including artist roundtables, forums, academic symposia, Arab films, musical concerts, poetry readings, informal discussions between artists and curators, and programs on Arab culture for schools.
More than 25 prominent Arab scholars, artists, critics and arts administrators are participating in related forums, roundtables, panels, and symposiums.
On Saturday, March 29, 2014, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Museum’s Arts of the Islamic World Initiative join FotoFest to present a day-long conference on the history and practice of contemporary art in the Middle East.
In early April, a day-long symposium, organized in partnership with Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and the Humanities Research Center at Rice University, explores politics and the rise of sectarianism across the region, and the phenomena of “Arabaphobia.”
In addition to its partnerships with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Rice University, FotoFest is working closely with prominent Arab organizations, regionally and nationally, particularly the Arab American Cultural and Community Center in Houston (ACC), the Middle East Studies Department of the University of Texas at Austin; and two New York-based art groups, ArteEast and Alwan for the Arts.
Arab galleries and publications are also working with the 2014 biennial Arab programs: Edge of Arabia (London); Berloni Gallery (London), Ayyam Gallery (Dubai and Beirut); Athr Gallery (Jeddah); Side by Side Gallery Akim Monet (Berlin); Third Line Gallery (Dubai); Cuadro Gallery (Dubai); Rose Issa Projects (London); Canvas Magazine (Dubai); Harpers Bazaar Art Arabia (Dubai); and Contemporary Practices Magazine (London).
Other biennial programming features FotoFest’s famous International Fine Print Auction and the sixteen-day international Meeting Place portfolio review for artists. One hundred independently organized art exhibitions and events take place at spaces across the city, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH); the Menil Collection; Holocaust Museum Houston; and the Station Museum of Art.
A new program in 2014 is the Collectors Weekend, a three-day event featuring two panels on collecting with international experts, exhibition tours with Arab artists, visit to the MFAH’s photographic print collection with MFAH photography curator Anne Wilkes Tucker and her newly appointed successor Malcolm Daniel. Attendees also receive reserved seats at the Biennial Fine Print Auction, with Sotheby’s Vice President Denise Bethel as auctioneer.
More information on the FotoFest 2014 biennial may be found on the FotoFest website.
For more information or visuals, please contact Vinod Hopson, Press Coordinator, press [at] fotofest.org or T 713 223 5522 ext 26.