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Jul 16 2021

Stepping It Up: Weekly News Roundup

by The Editors

Exterior view of Hayy Jameel, designed by architectural studio waiwai. Image via Instagram.

Art Jameel to Open New Arts Hub in Jeddah

In late 2021, the philanthropic cultural organization Art Jameel will open a new creative complex in Jeddah named Hayy Jameel. Designed by architectural studio waiwai, the 17,000-square-meter space will comprise a museum called Hayy Arts, as well as a community space, an education platform, an artists’ residence, and a 200-seat independent cinema designed by Bricklab. The inaugural show of Hayy Arts, titled “Staple: What’s on your plate?” and co-curated by Art Jameel and London’s Delfina Foundation, will address on the interrelations between food and memories, ecology and place through works from more than 30 artists. Hayy Jameel will also welcome partner-tenants, under the title of Hayy Residents, from a broad spectrum of creative disciplines, including art, publishing, performance, among others. Following Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, Hayy Jameel is the second cultural institution developed by Art Jameel. 

Installation view of CHEN WENLING’s sculpture Boy Holding A Shark (2021), commissioned for Vancouver Biennale. Image via Twitter.

Vancouver Biennale to Move Chen Wenling’s Proposed Sculpture

Chinese artist Chen Wenling’s sculpture Boy Holding a Shark (2021), originally proposed to be erected on the Vancouver seawall for the Vancouver Biennale, will be relocated after receiving immense public backlash. The 7.8-meter-tall sculpture features a teal-colored boy holding a melting shark, which symbolizes the dangers of environmental pollution. On July 10, the City of Vancouver confirmed their rejection of the Biennale’s request to install the sculpture at the proposed location, which according to the head of public art Eric Fredericksen, “carries high volumes of people walking and cycling.” Fredericksen added that the technical site review, together with comments from the public, “identified conflicts with seawall traffic and integration with the surroundings.” Local residents also circulated a petition against the proposal in early June, criticizing the sculpture as “an unsightly imposition”; it has to date collected over 1,500 signatures. The Biennale is currently awaiting further advice from the city’s engineering department, and the Shipyards District in North Vancouver has expressed their interest in housing the sculpture.

Portrait of RACHEL KENT. Photo by Anna Kucera. Courtesy Bundanon Trust.

Rachel Kent to Lead Bundanon as CEO

On July 13, the board of directors of Bundanon Trust appointed Rachel Kent to be the new CEO of Bundanon, an art organization in the Shoalhaven (Wodi Wodi and Yuin Country) in New South Wales. Currently the chief curator at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) where she has worked since 2000, Kent has organized major exhibitions for numerous international artists including Yinka Shonibare (2008–09), Grayson Perry (2015–16), and Tatsuo Miyajima (2016–17). In her new role, Kent will oversee Bundanon’s creative direction, public engagement, and international expansion with the help of AUD 7.1 million (USD 5.3 million) in government funding, which will support the opening of Bundanon’s new art museum and bridge set for November this year. Kent will begin her new position on September 6, replacing the current CEO Deborah Ely who has led the institution for over 15 years. Gifted in 1993 by the Australian artist couple Arthur and Yvonne Boyd, Bundanon runs Australia’s largest artistic residency program, as well as educational and conservation programs.

Portrait of REBECCA YUANCAO YANG. Courtesy Christie’s Hong Kong.

Media Entrepreneur to Chair Christie’s China

On June 30, Christie’s named Chinese entrepreneur and polo player Rebecca Yuancao Yang the new chair for Christie’s China, effective from August 1. Yang has extensive background in the media industry, as the founder of International Programme Content Network (IPCN) and Ba Lin (80Entertainment), as well as a documentary studio. During her tenure as the CEO at IPCN, the entertainment company became the first to introduce the rights licensing business for reproducing international TV shows in China, including “The Voice of China.” Based in Shanghai, Yang’s new role will help strengthen relationships with top clients as Christie’s China seeks to expand its reach in the luxury industries. 

Exterior view of Louvre Abu Dhabi. Photo by Mohamed Somji. Copyright and courtesy Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Louvre Abu Dhabi Launches First Art Prize

On July 14, Louvre Abu Dhabi announced the establishment of a new art prize and annual exhibition in partnership with Swiss watchmakers Richard Mille. The initiative aims to spotlight UAE-based and Emirati artists by running an open call for proposals, from which an international jury will select four to six artists to exhibit in the museum’s forum space. The final winner will receive the Richard Mille Art Prize of USD 50,000. For the inaugural edition titled “Memory, Time, Territory,” artists of all mediums are invited to reflect on questions of collective memory, temporality, and space. The museum is accepting proposals until August 31, with finalists to be announced in September. The exhibition along with the award ceremony are scheduled for November, in time for the UAE’s 50th anniversary celebrations. 

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