Non-profit art programmes given a kickstart

The Mosaic Rooms bookshop. Hrair Sarkissian has recently realised funding for an art book on studio portraiture in the Middle East through Art Basel’s Kickstarter partnership (Courtesy: Art Basel)
The Mosaic Rooms bookshop. Hrair Sarkissian has recently realised funding for an art book on studio portraiture in the Middle East through Art Basel’s Kickstarter partnership (Courtesy: Art Basel)

Today I have to write about an initiative from the team at Art Basel, arguably the world’s most prestigious art fair. It was announced in September that they would pair up with Kickstarter, the crowd funding website to reach out for help with non-profit art projects and now, three months on, it is wonderful to see its success.

Through help from generous online donors, The Mosaic Rooms in London will now stage an exhibition on performance art in the Arab world through rare archives and new contemporary artworks. They are also looking to realise this by create a residency programme for a curator and artists to research and develop the show.

Syrian artist Hrair Sarkissian also secured funding for Background, an artist’s book project reflecting on the disappearing tradition of studio portraiture in the Middle East. This important publication will feature Sarkissian’s photographs of empty, staged studio backdrops in Alexandria, Amman, Beirut, Byblos, Cairo and Istanbul. International curator Murtaza Vali will write a specially commissioned text to accompany the images and it will be produced by The Mosaic Rooms.

There are projects all over the world that have been enabled through the initiative. A centre for contemporary Asian art in Sydney’s Chinatown will now show work by Yangjiang Group, a Chinese art collective and East of Borneo, an online magazine of contemporary art and its history from Los Angeles accrued funds for a relaunch.

I think this is a wonderful way to direct the patronage to the arts. It shows forward thinking from Art Basel and I hope that other organisations pick up the trail because we could all always use a little more art in our lives.

* See the project on Art Basel’s website here or support the projects directly through Kickstarter’s Art Basel page.

Published: December 3, 2014 04:00 AM

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