Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW), New York 2014

October 20, 2014 - filed under Announcements,Upcoming Events   

Wednesday, October 22 – Sunday, November 2, 2014

Leading the ever-expanding interest in artistic practice and cultural production from Asia, Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) is a dynamic platform that brings together major New York- and Asia-based art institutions, museums, and galleries to present cutting-edge exhibitions, innovative projects, and provocative dialogues. Asia Society will host the signature program of ACAW 2014, FIELD MEETING: CRITICAL OF THE FUTURE, on October 26 and 27. The event includes a keynote presentation by Tom Finkelpearl, commissioner of New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs; commissioned performances by Haig Aivazian, Polit-Sheer-Form Office, and Bavand Behpoor, among others; and presentations by more than 30 art professionals that highlight individual practices, institution building, and cross-cultural influences. Organized by Leeza Ahmady and Xin Wang. RSVP required to; art professionals receive priority.

Bavand Behpoor, from Trashing Performance, London, 2011. Presented by Performance Matters, documentation by Christa Holka.

Exhibitions and programs at consortium / participating venues:

ACAW launches on Wednesday, October 22, with a celebration cohosted by ArteEast and Taymour Grahne Gallery, featuring works by Kuwait-based Tarek Al- Ghoussein. Also taking place are the opening of Seoul-based Seokmin Ko‘s Strip Show at Art Projects International, and a screening of the documentary Nam June Paik & TV Lab at Asia Society.

On Thursday, October 23, Independent Curators International (ICI) screens Project 35 Volume 2, which represents 13 artists and ten curators based in Asia.RSVP:

V.S. Gaitonde opens at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Friday, October 24. Beth Citron speaks to Sandeep Mukherjee on Francesco Clemente at Rubin Museum of Art, and Asia Art Archive in America hosts a private reception for ACAW’s FIELD MEETING participants.

On view through Saturday, October 25 are solo exhibitions of Ronald Ventura at Tyler Rollins Fine Art and Cao Fei at Lombard Freid Gallery. That evening DJ Spooky and collaborators pay homage to Nam June Paik at Asia Society.

Sunday, October 26 and Monday, October 27 are full throttle FIELD MEETING days at Asia Society (see full list of speakers below), and are followed by The Armory Show’s VIP Focus Reception.

Public Art Fund launches four sculptures by Sui Jianguo at Doris C. Freedman Plaza on Tuesday, October 28.

On Wednesday, October 29, Ventana244 hosts a reception for select video screenings by Lu Yang, followed by an artist talk with curator Xin Wang at Residency Unlimited. Billie Tsien speaks with Francesco Clemente at Rubin Museum of Art.

On Thursday, October 30, ACAW’s Chelsea night features receptions for Heri Dono at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, Huguette Caland at Lombard Freid Gallery, and Farah Ossouli at Shirin Gallery. Uptown, Japan Society presents works by Manabu Ikeda, Hisashi Tenmyouya, and teamLab, and hosts a conversation between gallery director Miwako Tezuka and Melissa Chiu.

On Friday, October 31, Guggenheim Musuem opens Time Temple by Wang Jianwei, and Robin Peckham of LEAP Magazine moderates a discussion on art publishing in Asia with Ian Cheng, Lauren O’Neill-Butler, Howie Chen, and Benjamin Genocchio at Artnet.

On Saturday, November 1, Queens Museum hosts the closing party for ACAW and celebrates three exhibition openings: Jewyo Rhii ‘s Out of Comfort, Anonymous: Contemporary Tibetan Art, and a retrospective for art collective Polit-Sheer-Form Office (PSFO) (Hong Hao, Leng Lin, Liu Jianhua, Song Dong, And Xiao Yu).

The week concludes with a public performance by Polit-Sheer-Form Office, Do the Same Good Deed, at Times Square on Monday, November 3.

Field Meeting presenting artists and professionals:

Haig Aivazian (Beirut) / Manal Al Dowayan (Dhahran & Dubai) / Ava Ansari (Tehran & New York) / Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan (Brisbane) / Korakrit Arunanondchai (New York & Bangkok) / Bavand Behpoor (Shiraz, Munich & London) / Burçak Bingöl (Istanbul) / Umer Butt (Dubai) / Cao Fei (Beijing) / Patty Chang (Boston) / Iftikhar Dadi (New York) / Alexis Destoop (Sydney & Brussels) / Heri Dono (Yogyakarta & Berlin) / Kris Ercums (Kansas) / Ceren Erdem (New York) / Tom Finkelpearl (New York) / Jeanno Gaussi (Berlin & Kabul) / Beatrice Glow (New York) / Boris Groys (New York) / Shilpa Gupta (Mumbai) / Lamia Joreige (Beirut) / Li Shurui (Beijing) / Jitish Kallat (Mumbai) / Reena Kallat (Mumbai) / Georgia Kotretsos (Athens) / Kko-kka Lee (Seoul) / Lu Yang (Shanghai) / MAP Office (Hong Kong; Laurent Guttierez, Valerie Portefaix) / Polit-Sheer-Form Office (Beijing; Hong Hao, Leng Lin, Liu Jianhua, Song Dong, and Xiao Yu) / Aki Sasamoto (New York) / Sun Xun (Beijing) / Charwei Tsai (Ho Chi Minh City, Paris & Taipei) / Farah Wardani (Yogyakarta) / Tintin Wulia (Melbourne) / Craig Yee (Seattle & Beijing) / Yu Cheng-Ta (Taipei) / Zheng Chongbin (San Francisco) / and more

Other consortium members and participants:

+91 Foundation, New York / Aike-Dellarco Gallery, Shanghai / Alserkal Avenue, Dubai / Angeles Mira | Architecture / Galeri Zilberman, Istanbul / Australia Council for the Arts, Sydney / The Back Room, Tehran & New York / Chi-Wen Gallery, Taipei / Edge of Arabia, Jeddah & London / Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong / Ink Studio, Beijing / The Korean Art Museum Association, Seoul / MABSOCIETY, Shanghai / Museum of Modern Art, New York / The National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta / Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas / Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

For full descriptions, hours, press release, and updates for ACAW programs, visit and

Contact: Ambika Trasi / T +1 646 416 6454

Curating the Region: Reflections from Here and Elsewhere

September 26, 2014 - filed under Announcements,Upcoming Events   

September 27th 2014, 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Organized by the New Museum and ArteEast

This symposium brings together curators, scholars, and art professionals whose practices influence how cultural production in the Arab world can be accessed, understood, and engaged.

During this day-long symposium, speakers will consider the divergent disciplines and methods through which contemporary art from the Arab world—and from the Middle East and North Africa more generally—has been historicized, presented, and discussed. Drawing from a range of contexts with different audiences, participants will examine the parameters of specificity within cultural or regional categories that are themselves immensely diverse. They will address the viability of demarcating geographic or cultural categories when engaging contemporary art, as well as how and why the perspectives of those working locally might differ, cohere, or productively cross with those working at a remove. Similarly, they will consider a variety of expectations, interests, and critical demands of audiences within these different contexts. Questions to be explored include: In what sense can we speak of a region or of regions? Have recent curatorial approaches tended decisively toward or away from specificity? How can specificity be beneficial? How and why can it be problematic? What are the effects of reconsidering the categorical lenses through which contemporary art of specific regions is engaged with?

Speakers Include: Leeza Ahmady, Shiva Balaghi, Natalie Bell, Omar Berrada, Antonia Carver, Deena Chalabi, Mahnaz Fancy, Alicia Ritson, Sarah Rogers, Rijin Sahakian

New Museum
235 Bowery
New York, NY 10002

No-Mad-Ness in No-Man’s-Land

October 7, 2013 - filed under Announcements,Exhibitions,Openings,Upcoming Events   

November 9th thru December 22nd, 2013

ESLITE Gallery, Taipei

Co-curated by Leeza Ahmady and Ombretta Agro Andruff


Khadim Ali / Isabel & Alfredo Aquilizan / Said Atabekov / Lara Baladi / Jeanno Gaussi / Mariam Ghani / Reena Saini Kallat / Jagannath Panda / Yelena & Viktor Vorobayev / Sharif Waked

This exhibition examines the nomadism of contemporary migrant artists who deliberately resist location and de-territorialize the origins of their work. It consists of a selection of some of today’s most successful artists based in or originating from various regions in Asia, including the Middle East. These artists are engaged in the acts of moving, living, and working on multiple continents or are addressing such phenomena in their practices consciously, or in some cases unconsciously. They investigate, challenge, and/ or renew traditional nomadic ideals in view of contemporary lifestyles relative to ideas about space, place, people, movement, and nature.  Through their nomadism, these artists elude the fixed identity categories often imposed on them by their country or countries of adoption.

The word “nomad” comes from the Greek and is defined as “the one who wanders for pasture.” Since the dawn of the modern era, however, or perhaps even since the birth of cities, the term has been used to mean one who moves for various reasons. The paradoxes of a life on the move are playfully highlighted in the exhibition’s double-edged title—to both acknowledge the real challenges of such a lifestyle and also to examine the often fantastic, uncanny images conjured by the term nomad. Namely, one who engages in wild, uninhibited meanderings in unregulated territories at the mercy of highly unexpected and dangerous conditions and circumstances.

From the 1960s onward, significant numbers of artists from all regions of the world—Asia, Africa, South America, and elsewhere—travelled to Europe and North America, and vice-versa. Whether they immigrated for a short period or indefinitely, their art not only contributed to the dynamics of their newly adopted art scenes but transformed art-making processes, theory, and criticism, and ultimately art history altogether. Art historians are therefore now beginning to recognize the starting point of contemporary art by delineating  artists and movements from 1970 forward as “an art that is of the world for the world.”

This exhibition was inspired by the curators’ acknowledgment of this shift as directly connected to the phenomena of artists increasingly moving from place to place and living and working in countries and regions other than their own, especially over the past three decades. Furthermore, the practice of the few brave artists who ventured to isolated places in the world on their own has now become completely institutionalized. Residency programs have sprouted up in museums, universities, and arts organizations in cities, towns, and even villages, large and small, cosmopolitan or remote. A generation of thirty- and forty-something successful artists today will list at least a dozen local and international residencies in their resumes.

No-Mad-Ness in No-Man’s-Land is the fruit of four years of collaborative research and conversations between curators Leeza Ahmady and Ombretta Agró Andruff, which led to the selection of the ten artists currently in the exhibition. Some of the artists are culturally and historically connected to the notion of nomadism because of their geographical affiliations (Said Atabekov, Yelena Vorobyeva, and Viktor Vorobyev); others because they make the concept of nomadism, displacement, and migration one of the central subjects of their art practice (Mariam Ghani, Sharif Waked, Jeanno Gaussi, Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan, and to some extent Reena Kallat and Jagannath Panda); and than there are those who may have touched upon this subject more peripherally but with works that make a strong statement in this specific context (Lara Baladi and Khadim Ali).

While the list of artists initially under consideration included individuals and collectives from Italy, Germany, Denmark, Poland, and Mexico, among other countries, the final selection for this specific iteration of the project focused on participants from Asia and the Middle East, including India, Kazakhstan, Egypt, the Philippines, Afghanistan, and Palestine.

The media employed by the artists reflect the wide variety of their practices: from the videos of Mariam Ghani and Sharif Waked to the photography-based works of Said Atabekov, Yelena and Viktor Vorobyev, and Lara Baladi ; the sculptural works and installations by Jagannath Panda, Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan, Reena Kallat, and the Vorobyevs; and the paintings and works on paper by Jeanno Gaussi, Reena Kallat, Jagannath Panda and Khadim Ali.

No-Mad-Ness in No-Man’s-Land is an open-ended and ongoing project, which the curators envision gaining a nomadic existence in its own right, traveling through different venues in different countries with the possibility of changing the participating artists as it moves from place to place in order to broaden the dialogue concerning various forms of contemporary nomadism.

To read more about the exhibition and the participating artists visit:

ArteEast 2012 Benefit Auction & Reception

October 19, 2012 - filed under Announcements,Upcoming Events   



Tickets will be available at a reduced rate of $125 till the day of the event, so we are urging people to buy now!

The silent and live auction includes works generously donated by artists:

Adel Abidin, Haig Aivazian, Abbas Akhavan, Jananne Al Ani, Tarek Al-Ghoussein, Daniele Genadry, Pouran Jinchi, John Jurayj, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Mohammed Kazem, Huda Lutfi, Jumana Manna, Suleiman Mansour, Nabil Nahas, Ibrahim Quraishi, Michael Rakowitz, Zenib Sedira, Hassan Sharif, and Raed Yassin

Online bidding begins on November 19th through Paddle 8 ( and includes a “buy now” option that makes the auction available to international buyers who might not be able to attend the event in New York.

All proceeds to benefit ArteEast Residencies and Commissions

Please visit ArteEast Event Page for more information.

In Conversation at Asian Art Museum San Francisco

July 8, 2012 - filed under Upcoming Events   

Artist Mariam Ghani speaks to independent curator Leeza Ahmady about the phantoms in her work, from the specters of real but repressed histories, to the horrors that haunt the edges of present politics, to the conceivable but unrealized futures that manifest as possible spaces hovering above or alongside actual, traversable spaces. Ghani and Ahmady will also discuss their work in Afghanistan, sharing their perspectives on their participation in dOCUMENTA (13)’s initiative in Kabul and Bamiyan, which included a series of seminars (Feb-June) and an exhibition at the Bagh-e-Babur Gardens in Kabul.

Ghani’s work addresses the intersections of place, memory, history, language, and loss, as seen in her recent video installation A Brief History of Collapses, commissioned by dOCUMENTA (13). The two-channel video traverses the ruined Dar-ul Aman Palace in Kabul and the restored Museum Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany in two parallel courses, in order to explore both similarities and differences in their structures, histories and myths. Ghani’s research-based practice also informs her recent publication Afghanistan: A Lexicon, a nonlinear history of 20th-century Afghanistan, and her Sharjah Biennial 10 commission The Trespassers, a video, sound and archive installation that examines the overlaps between translation, treason and trespass in the ‘global war on terror.’

Ahmady’s recent dynamic role as part of the dOCUMENTA (13) Agents team involved leading a series of workshops in Kabul spanning art theory, perspectives on international contemporary art, and the building of a critical art magazine. Noted for her ongoing curatorial efforts to contextualize and exhibit works of Central Asian artists, Ahmady is at the forefront of an influx of activities in the region, paving the way for extended opportunities for artists in their home countries and abroad. Since 2005, she has been the director of Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW), a biennial event initiated by Asian Contemporary Art Consortium (ACAC), New York, comprising a series of special exhibitions, lectures, and performances at leading city museums and galleries such as the Asia Society, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art.

Asian Art Museum
Samsung Hall
200 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102


An event of ACAC San Francisco:


Artist / Agent Conversations at dOCUMENTA (13)

May 29, 2012 - filed under Announcements,Upcoming Events   

Artist / Agent Conversations at dOCUMENTA (13)

Kassel, Germany

Mariam Ghani, still from A Brief History of Collapses, 2011-12.

For 100 days, over 150 artists from 55 countries, and other participants from around the world, will gather and present artworks of all mediums, curatorial projects, as well as other objects and experiments in the fields of art, politics, literature, philosophy, and science.

Please join dOCUMENTA (13) Agent and Independent Curator, Leeza Ahmady as she speaks with participating artists about their commissions, and projects during opening days of the exhibition.

As part of the Maybe Education and Public Programs, a program of talks between agents and artists will be taking place during the opening week, June 6-10th, 2012.  These talks are intended to activate the exhibition spaces of dOCUMENTA (13) and open dialogues with the many participants of the project and its diverse audiences.   Scheduled every hour, on a small mobile stage in the proximity of the artistic project.

Thursday, June 7th @ 4 PM: Barmak Akram

Afghan artist and filmmaker Barmak Akram will discuss his installation consisting of the presentation of a selection of his “phyto-morphic” cuttings from popular press, accompanied by a new video installation shot mid-way between Kabul and Bamiyan. (Karlsaue Park)

Friday, June 8th @ 2:30 PM: Sopheap Pich

Cambodian artist Sopheap Pich creates biomorphic sculptures and installations that address issues of time, memory, and the body, often relating to his childhood memories of life during the Khmer Rouge period. Pich and Ahmady will discuss his new “Relief” paintings, a series of rattan and bamboo works that recall his original training as a painter.   (Fridericianum)

Friday, June 8th @ 7 PM: Masood Kamandy

Masood Kamandy will talk about his project Superpositional.  The installation, which takes its title from particle physics, explores the collapsing of time and space through the photographic process. (Oberste Gasse 4)

Saturday, June 9th @ 6 PM: Khadim Ali

Khadim Ali creates intense collage-like miniature paintings which convey the complex history of Afghanistan.  Ali and Ahmady will discuss his project “Haunted Lotus,” a four-panel work that incorporates scenes from the Persian epic Shahnameh and classical miniature techniques to allude to the persecution of Hazara people by the Taliban and the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas. (Neue Galerie)

Monday, June 10th @ 1 PM: Mariam Ghani

Mariam Ghani will discuss her latest video installation commissioned by dOCUMENTA (13), which takes as its subjects the ruined Dar-ul Aman Palace in Kabul, and the restored Museum Fridericianum in Kassel.  The two-channel video installation A Brief History of Collapses, traverses the two buildings in parallel courses to explore both similarities and differences in their structures, histories, and myths. (Friericianum)

Also, do not miss viewing work by artists Vyacheslav Akhunov, Amar Kanwar, Wael Shawky, Michael Rackowitz, Rahraw Omarzad, Zalmai, Tejal Shaw, and Bani Abadi at dOCUMENTA (13).

For more information about these conversations and Ahmady’s other dOCUMENTA (13) related projects please contact us at

For more information about dOCUMENTA (13) please visit: 


Dialogues in Contemporary Art: Take 2 @ ICI

April 19, 2012 - filed under Upcoming Events   

Dialogues in Contemporary Art: Take 2

Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 7:00 pm-8:30 pm @ Independent Curators International Curatorial Hub, 401 Broadway, Suite 1620, New York, NY 10013

Artist Mariam Ghani and Independent Curator and dOCUMENTA (13) Agent Leeza Ahmady speak about their contributions to the dOCUMENTA (13) “100 Notes- 100 Thoughts” notebook series, and share their perspectives on the recent influx of international art activities in Kabul, Afghanistan. This event will also launch Ghani and Ahmady’s notebooks in New York.

Ghani’s notebook, Afghanistan: A Lexicon, was co-authored with her father, the anthropologist and political scientist Ashraf Ghani. The notebook uses the form of a lexicon to construct a non-linear and somewhat speculative history of 20th-century Afghanistan, with an emphasis on recurrences, continuities, and spatial politics. The lexicon includes definitions for seventy-one terms, most of which are illustrated with archival or original images. The notebook’s point of departure is a detailed reflection on the reign of King Amanullah (1919–29), whose successes and failures set the pattern for the cycle of repeated reforms, collapses, and recoveries that Afghanistan would undergo throughout the 20th century.

Ahmady’s notebook focuses on Vyacheslav Akhunov, an artist who has been actively conceptualizing and producing artworks in Tashkent, Uzbekistan since the early 1970’s. Though his artistic oeuvre spans many media, Ahmady hones in on Akhunov’s vast archive of personal notebooks containing some 3,000 pages of drawings and text recorded in secret between 1974 and 2000. Often unable to realize physical art projects during the Soviet Regime, these notebooks became Akhunov’s primary mode of unrestrained expression, invention, critique, and exploration. Ahmady’s dOCUMENTA(13) contribution contextualizes and shares excerpts from this massive index of one artist’s unrelenting creative momentum for the first time in an international forum.

Mariam Ghani is a Brooklyn-based artist whose research-based practice examines places, spaces and moments where social and political structures take on visible and tangible forms. Ghani’s work in video and installation has been screened and exhibited internationally, at venues including Modern Monday’s at MoMA, NYC (2011), the Sharjah Biennials 9 and 10 (2011, 2009), the Beijing 798 Biennial (2009), the National Gallery, Washington DC (2008), the Tate Modern, London (2007), d/Art, Sydney (2006), Futura, Prague (2005), the Liverpool Biennial (2004), and transmediale, Berlin (2003).

Leeza Ahmady is an Independent Art Curator and Educator. She is Director of Asian Contemporary Art Week, a biennial of exhibitions and public programs at major museums and galleries in New York. She is an Agent for dOCUMENTA (13) exhibition (Kassel Germany 2012) and a founding board member for Center for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan, (CCAA).

This discussion is part of the Dialogues in Contemporary Art (DCA) series, hosted by AhmadyArts in collaboration with Independent Curators International (ICI) & The program will include select recordings of conversations, talks, & panel discussions led by Leeza Ahmady, and presented at the ICI Hub in Tribeca, New York City.

All DCA events will be recorded & made available for public access through

These events are open to the public, but seating is limited. Reception follows. RSVP suggested at with event title, Take 2 in the subject field.


May 17, 2011 - filed under Upcoming Events   

dOCUMENTA (13) is a series of artistic acts and gestures that are already taking place as well as an exhibition that will open on June 9, 2012, and that will run for 100 days. dOCUMENTA (13) does not follow a single, overall concept but engages in conducting, and choreographing manifold materials, methods, and knowledges.

Curatorial Team and Process

dOCUMENTA (13) is being planned by artistic director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev with a number of agents, advisors, and artists. Throughout 2009 and 2010, Christov-Bakargiev traveled and lectured widely, building up a group of people with whom the process is shared. More than half of the participating artists have already been invited and are preparing projects for dOCUMENTA (13).

The dOCUMENTA (13) Agents contribute in various ways, and have different degrees of engagement. Some work more closely and consistently, others more loosely and occasionally, so as to create a generative process that is organic and affective, open to change. The Agents may increase during the upcoming years, and constitute an unstable curatorial entity. “In small systems,” states Christov-Bakargiev, “an agent acts by proxy, and chooses among a number of alternatives, so that agency is delegated, thus implying an element of uncertainty through which the system works. An agent, in biology, precipitates a reaction, and in fiction, an agent suggests someone who is hidden or undercover, never fully revealing identity. Agere, in Latin, is to act.” Currently, the Agents are Leeza Ahmady, Ayreen Anastas & Rene Gabri, Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Sunjung Kim, Koyo Kouoh, Joasia Krysa, Marta Kuzma, Raimundas Malašauskas, Chus Martínez, Lívia Páldi, Hetti Perkins, Eva Scharrer, Kitty Scott, and Andrea Viliani.

What is dOCUMENTA (13) about?

Questions of personal and collective emancipation through art emerge in the process of making dOCUMENTA (13) by thinking through a number of composite ontologies that generate paradoxical conditions of contemporary life and artistic production. These include:

  • participation and withdrawal as simultaneous modes of existence today;
  • embodiment and disembodiment, and their mutual dependency;
  • rootedness and homelessness, as a dual condition of subjecthood;
  • proximity and distance, and their relativity;
  • collapse and recovery, occurring simultaneously as well as in succession;
  • the flood of uncontrolled information and the contemporaneous obsession with control and organization;
  • translation and untranslatability, and their negotiation;
  • inclusion and exclusion, and their connectedness;
  • access and inaccessibility, and their co-existence;
  • the obsolescence of a Eurocentric notion of art and the paradoxical emergence of practices related to that same notion in the world at large today;
  • human life and other forms of life facing multi-species entangled  histories;
  • advanced science/technology and its alliance with ancient traditions;
  • tangible and intangible heritage and their interconnectedness with contemporary culture;
  • the specificity of being an artist and the non-specificity of artistic practice.

Exploring this set of composite ontologies and considerations, the exhibition will be held in various locations and places, and will include new works by more than 100 artists from around the world. In some cases, these will be presented as parts of projects with other artists, agents, or persons active in cultural fields including science and literature. Furthermore, a number of historical artworks will be exhibited in these interrelated ideas, conversations, and parallel stories.