London’s Whitechapel Gallery has hired author and curator Omar Kholeif as curator. Kholeif, who will start his new job in January, has held curatorial positions at a number of institutions.
“WILL YOU COME to Meeting Points 7 in Belgium?” implored Tarek Abou El Fetouh, the director of the roving, biennial festival, via a Facebook message earlier this month. “I’ll send you a catalogue fresh from the oven to whet your appetite.” How could I resist? In a blink of an eye I had rescheduled flights and was on a Eurostar from London bound for Antwerp and the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, the second stop for Meeting Points (Gallery Nova in Zagreb was the first), which this year proposed to make an urgent “statement” about revolutionary and postrevolutionary society.
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Just a few days left to ikono TV’s very first on air and online art festival. Get ready to celebrate this pioneering moment in TV history: from the 6th to the 29th of September you can watch more than 200 hours of video art. The daily programme will feature artworks from established and emerging artists from all over the world. The festival will present contemporary perspectives on film, video art, and other time-based art forms, exclusively broadcasted on TV and on live stream. Wherever you are, you can now become part of a global community of art lovers.
Omar Kholeif has curated a special programme entitled, Syndrome of A Decade, More info HERE.
Omar Kholeif has today joined Cornerhouse as its newest Visiting Curator. Kholeif joins Henreitte Huldisch (Berlin) and Michael Connor (New York) to work with Artistic Director (Visual Arts and Film) Sarah Perks, on artistic development and strategy for Cornerhouse and HOME’s visual arts and film programmes.
Kholeif, born in Egypt and currently based in London, is a specialist in film, video and new media, and brings almost a decade’s experience in the sector. He is currently Head of Programming at The White Building, London’s centre for art and technology.
Kholeif was previously Curator at FACT, Liverpool, the UK’s national centre for film and new media, where he curated and commissioned over a dozen major projects – working with artists such as Akram Zaatari, Anja Kirschner and David Panos, Pedro Reyes, and Semiconductor. He was also Curator at the Arab British Centre, London, and founding Director of the UK’s Arab Film Festival, which this year was hosted at Cornerhouse.
He has contributed curatorial projects to the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art; Impakt Festival, Netherlands; Werkleitz Biennial, Germany; Whitechapel Gallery, London; ICA, London; The International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands; ‘Beirut’, Cairo; New Museum/Rhizome, New York; Arnolfini, Bristol; and Art Dubai, UAE, to name just a few. He writes for the international press and was a founding editor of Portal 9, a bi-lingual journal of art and architecture published in Beirut; as well as being Senior Editor of Ibraaz Publishing, the leading critical forum for visual culture in North Africa and the Middle East.
Kholeif is no stranger to Cornerhouse. In 2012, he curated Subversion – a major group show featuring 12 international artists including Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Marwa Arsanios, Wafaa Bilal and Sharif Waked. Speaking about his appointment, he said:
‘I am excited to be joining Sarah Perks and the rest of the curatorial team at one of the most exciting moments in Cornerhouse’s history. In particular, I’m excited to be working on the opening programme for HOME, our new arts organisation, which will build on Cornerhouse’s outstanding reputation – and which has the potential to pioneer new approaches to how institutions envision relationships across our most exciting art forms’.
Sarah Perks said: ‘Omar is a really exciting and talented curator and he’s joined our team at a really important time. As well as the opening programme for HOME we’re developing the last few exhibitions and seasons in Cornerhouse’s iconic and much-loved building; for both we’re exploring ideas and artists that will make a huge impact for Manchester, nationally and internationally.”
Since it was founded in 2002, Homeworks has taken place every two or three years in Beirut. Organized by Christine Tohme, the powerhouse director behind the non-profit Ashkal Alwan, the event describes itself as ‘a forum on cultural practices’. This is not a biennial with an infinite number of collectors and curators rushing around with different coloured VIP badges, nor is it parcelled into different chunks – separate tours for press, cultural tourists, museum directors, and so on. In fact, for this first-time visitor, it seemed like there were no tickets at all: Homeworks 6 was free and open to anyone; the most reliable means of access was one’s enthusiasm to push through the crowds. Programmes were divided into different sections: projects, performance, performance-lectures (of which Lebanon is surely the spiritual home), plain old lectures, film and video screenings, dance, theatre, literature and, of course, an exhibition.
Keep Reading @Frieze.
Writing the Canon: Notes on Art Education by Omar Kholeif
There is a particular aloofness among artists working in the Middle East and North Africa toward the North American and Western European cultural brokers who seek to engage them. A natural assumption is that this is due to a postcolonial paranoia. This is no surprise, especially as the reactive politics of the post-9/11 cultural spheres (not to mention the Arab uprisings that sparked after January 2011) have undeniably sought to turn many contemporary artists’ works into instruments of a neoliberal agenda. Artists have seen their output culled into exhibitions and projects that seek to address prescriptive sociopolitical agendas, often prioritizing ethnic or political categorization over formal, conceptual, or aesthetic art historical concerns.
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I have just started running the programme at The White Building, London’s new cultural centre, working at the intersection of art, technology and sustainability.
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Lots more coming soon.
Close Encounters: Peripheral Images and Histories of the Present
Spectrum Shorts also includes two short films programmes with recent Middle Eastern works brought together by Omar Kholeif and IFFR programmer Peter van Hoof. The two Close Encounters’ programmes seek to articulate the present with one eye on the future and another inextricably linked to the past. Can an image narrate a history? How do we deal with a history that brims so close to the present that it is impossible to distance one’s self from it?