Thursday, September 15, 2011

Preview to Istanbul Biennial

Thursday and Friday this week are Preview days for the 12th Istanbul Biennial. Receiving accreditation from the Press Office prior to my arrival, I was one of probably around 500 people who had access to see the show before it opens to the public on Saturday. This year's Biennial is located at a single site, the Antrepo complex, located at two former warehouses on the Salipazari Harbor in the Tophane district where the massive cruise ships dock. This has not been the case the last two or three events, which were dispersed across the city with several interventions in the public sphere. I will be writing an art report on the Biennial for an online publication, so will not get into details of the show here now.


Met up with performing public space artists Nancy Popp and Arzu Arda Kosar, both here from Los Angeles representing OUTPOST for Contemporary Art, who I have come to know over the last six months. We had lunch at the Istanbul Modern, rode the historical Tünel funicular and trams, and Ar Zu performed one of her "yarn bombing" gorilla DIY knitted interventions in Taskim (images below). We also visited an alternative pop up space in the textile district where Project MIND THE GAP artists were operating this past week to do public interventions around the theme of borders. Brain child of this one Alexia Mellor is now a new friend, and is also a fellow occasional resident of New Mexico and September 20th birthday (wild)! Went to the opening reception of Dream and Reality at the Istanbul Modern, a Turkish version of WACK! where I met up with Berin Golonu, former Bay Area curator who grew up in Istanbul before moving to the USA when she was 8 years old. She is an art writer and occasional contributor to Art Practical and Art in America (recent interview in AIA with Biennial curators HERE).

Also, saw Ralph Rugoff at lunch and suggested to him that The Hayward create a sister museum program with the Berkeley Art Museum. He is already on it! Of course, great minds think alike . . . . (wink).

Tünel funicular
historic tram along the Grande Rue de Pera
Arzu Arda Kosar public intervention on Grande Rue de Pera

 Arzu was caught in the act, but security turned there heads after some talking in Turkish

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