Bidoun Projects has had its hands full this fall and winter. In October we manned our usual booth at the Frieze Art Fair in London, while in New York we hosted a night of film screenings in collaboration with publishing culture-hero Semiotext(e), presenting outsider visions of Morocco — from Michel Auder’s ode to Warhol muse Viva’s foiled trip in 1971, to Mohamed Ulad-Mohand’s examination of Paul Bowles, the superlative expat.
A few days later, we launched our fall issue and previewed our winter issue at The Kitchen with gallerist Tony Shafrazi narrating Moogambo, his operatic epic 1976 artist’s book/novella, even as Gini Alhadeff and Hampton Fancher recreated the magic of their first encounter (memorialized in our last issue). There were cowboy films from Iran and professional whistlers, too, along with tunes by Children, the duo of Fatima Al Qadiri and Shayne Oliver.
In November, we teamed up with Cabinet magazine to present a rare screening of Shahr e Ghesse (City of Tales), the 1972 film version of the 1967 Iranian play, and hosted an idiosyncratic Performa event by artist Ahmet Ogüt remembering the late Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink. The performance involved a blind painter and a dark, dark room.
Also in November, at Abu Dhabi Art, we launched an unprecedented resource room and library with collected bookish ephemera from the likes of Istanbul-based art publisher BAS or our comic partners in crime, Samandal, from Beirut. The resource room will also host rare recordings from around the world drawn from BubuWeb, Bidoun’s iteration of avant-garde cult media site UbuWeb. Our hope is that Abu Dhabi will be the first of many stops for this important work in progress.
And finally in December, we opened a show entitled NOISE at Beirut’s Sfeir-Semler Gallery that aimed to explicate (or perhaps complicate) what it means to be exhibiting art in and around the Middle East. The show, which runs through February at the massive Beirut space, includes a text piece by Lawrence Weiner that runs along the gallery’s windows facing the Dora Highway. On the roof, a large neon sign by Vartan Avakian spelled out SFEIR-SEMLER in Devanagari script, advertising the previously unmarked building to the large immigrant Asian population in the old Armenian neighborhood below. Also included are photorealist works by Steven Baldi, a sculptural installation by Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck and Media Farzin, a piece of wall taken from the Tony Shafrazi Gallery by Babak Radboy, new photographic prints and sculptures by Walead Beshty, a ping-pong table by Rayyane Tabet, polaroids and a film by Haris Epaminonda, videos by Yoshua Okon, and paintings by Mounira Al Solh and Bassam Ramlawi. Also making her exhibition debut was gallerist Andrée Sfeir-Semler, as herself.