All eyes on Venice this month as May You Live In Interesting Times, the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia curated by Ralf Rugoff, just opened its doors to the public. The preview brought together art professionals from around the world for an intense artistic immersion. The opening days concluded with the award ceremonies which winners included Arthur Jafa for his compelling film The White Album (2019), at once an essay, poem, portraiture reflecting upon perceived notions of race and the capacity for love. The biennale is open until 24 November 2019.
Prior to the biennale’s launch, the African Art in Venice Forum led by Ilaria Conti and Neri Torcello, provided a discursive space for cultural agents practicing in and beyond the African continent, to address the stakes of contemporary art in Africa. While participating in this gathering, one could not but be reminded of the defunct Forum for African Arts that led to the first major contemporary African art exhibition at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001, an initiative which instigators included the late Okwui Enwezor; as well as, the first official African Pavilion in 2007 which selection jury included the late Bisi Silva. Major figures to be remembered as part of the history of African arts in Venice. The Forum’s sessions will be available on the AAVF’s YouTube channel as of mid-May.
In other news, the Prince Pierre de Monaco Foundation has recently announced its shortlist for the PIAC – International Contemporary Art Prize 2019. Awarded every three years, the prize acknowledges a recent work by an artist nominated by a jury of leading art professionals. The shortlisted pieces are: Tree Identification for Beginners (2017) by Yto Barrada, nominated by Adrienne Edwards, Curator of Performance, Whitney Museum; Love Is the Message, The Message Is Death (2016) by Arthur Jafa, nominated by Tumelo Mosaka, Curator; and FRAGMENTS (2016–ongoing) by Rayyane Tabet, nominated by Lorenzo Giusti, Director, GAMeC, Bergamo, Italy. The winner will be announced, in Monaco, on 15 October at the Proclamation of Prizes ceremony. The winner is awarded the sum of €75,000, including the funding for the production of a new work.
More awards as the Turner Prize 2019 nominees were also announced earlier this month. They are Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani. The 2019 selecting jury are Alessio Antoniolli, Director, Gasworks & Triangle Network; Elvira Dyangani Ose, Director of The Showroom Gallery and Lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths; Victoria Pomery, Director, Turner Contemporary, Margate and Charlie Porter, writer. The jury is chaired by Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain.
An exhibition of work by the four shortlisted artists will be held from 28 September 2019 to 12 January 2020 at Turner Contemporary in Margate. The winner will be announced on 3 December 2019 at an award ceremony live on the BBC, the broadcast partner for the Turner Prize. The Turner Prize award is £40,000 with £25,000 going to the winner and £5,000 each for the other shortlisted artists.
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