Dialogues in Contemporary Art: Take 4

Tuesday, December 4, 2012
7–8:30 pm

ICI Curatorial Hub
401 Broadway, Suite 1620
New York, NY 10013

Dialogues in Contemporary Art: Take 4
In Collaboration with AhmadyArts

Dialogues in Contemporary Art: Take 4 brings writer, art historian and sometimes curator Murtaza Vali in conversation with DCA host, independent curator Leeza Ahmady to discuss perspectives on the often intricate intersections in contemporary art, culture and politics that link the United States, the Middle East and South Asia. An Indian citizen who has never lived in India, Vali’s position—based between the UAE and the US—informs his work and may catalyze his role as the guest curator for the next Abraaj Capital Art Prize in 2013.

Successfully navigating between scholarly, critical and curatorial practices, Vali will share his experience in fielding nuanced differences and common denominators in these increasingly interconnected disciplines. Vali’s responsibilities as guest curator for the 2013 Abraaj Capital Art Prize (ACAP) tests his range of insight, as he supervises production of works, positions them within the context of Art Dubai 2013, edits and publishes the annual catalogue and more. 

In its 5th edition, ACAP is the only art prize dedicated to artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (now widely termed the MENASA region), allowing 5 artists per year to realize significant projects that would not otherwise be financially feasible. It is also the only art prize that rewards proposals rather than completed works of art. This raises the question of how art prizes—particularly regional art prizes—impact artistic production. At the halfway point of Vali’s process, the conversation with Ahmady will interrogate his perceptions of the art prize machinery: if and how it feeds creative initiative, spurs competition and engages patron responsibility.

Dialogues in Contemporary Art series is part of an ongoing effort by AhmadyArts to disseminate broader, more thorough knowledge of art communities and artists’ activities both inside and outside of Asia. The program will include select recordings of conversations, talks and panel discussions presented at the ICI Curatorial Hub. Audio recordings will be available on

This event is free and open to the public, though seating is limited. RSVP to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with DCA: Take 4 in the subject field. For more information about the event and programming in the Curatorial Hub, contact Misa Jeffereis, Public Programs & Research Coordinator at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

December 4, 2012


Leeza Ahmady

Born in Afghanistan and based in New York, Leeza Ahmady is an independent curator, the Director of Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW), and dOCUMENTA(13) Agent. Ahmady has traveled widely in Central Asia, presenting the largely unknown artists of the region in international art forums such as the Venice Biennale, Istanbul Biennial, and Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong. She directs Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW), an annual event initiated by the Asia Society, New York, comprising a series of special exhibitions, lectures, and performances at leading city museums and galleries. Ahmady’s efforts in complicating categorical notions about Asia have resulted in an expanded list of participating artists, and a broad consortium of venues that support the initiative, such as the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art.

Murtaza Vali

Murtaza Vali is a Brooklyn-based writer, art historian, and curator. An independent critic since 2005, his reviews, essays, profiles, and interviews have appeared regularly in, ArtReview, Art India, Bidoun Magazine, and ArtAsiaPacific, where he is contributing editor and was co-editor of their 2007 and 2008 Almanac, a year-end review of contemporary art across Asia. He has written essays for nonprofits and galleries around the world, most notably for monographs on Emily Jacir, Reena Saini Kallat, and Laleh Khorramian. He has been a visiting critic at Yale’s School of Art and Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning. As winner of the Winter 2010 Lori Ledis Curatorial Fellowship, Vali curated Accented at Brooklyn’s BRIC Rotunda Gallery (2010) and recently edited Manual for Treason, a multilingual publication commissioned by Sharjah Biennial X (2011). He holds an MA in art history and archaeology from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts.

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