Dialogues in Asian Contemporary Art

Ahmady hosts this online radio program in collaboration with ARTonAIR.org. Listen to archived interviews with some of today's best artists, curators, critics, and field experts. The programs include Ahmady's reports from around town and feature select recordings of conversations, talks, and panel discussions across venues in New York City and elsewhere.

Dialogues in Contemporary Art as part of ACAW 2011 Public Programs

An Evening with Mariam Ghani

Mariam Ghani discussed her work and ongoing examinations of the public and private narratives that construct and contest histories, places and communities. During the conversation the artist screened five video works, including her most recent commissioned work for the Sharjah Biennial 2011. Recorded on March 21, 2011 at the Museum of Modern Art.

Listen to discussion, "An Evening with Mariam Ghani"

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

The legendary, charming, and enduringly vital artist Monir Farmanfarmaian talked about her life and work with Melissa Chiu, Director of Asia Society Museum. With a career spanning over fifty years Farmanfarmaian is not short on achievements, notably receiving a Venice Biennale Gold Medal in 1958. Recorded on March 23, 2011 at Asia Society.

Listen to discussion with Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

International Biennials:
Suzanne Cotter, David Elliott, Massimiliano Gioni

In a presentation moderated by IFA Scholar Joe Martin Hill, three renowned curators discussed their curatorial processes for the recent biennials in Sharjah, Sydney and Gwangju. The dialogue presented three rather unique perspectives on what it means to curate a successful biennial, why perennial exhibitions have flourished in Asia and what the future holds. Recorded on March 25, 2011 at Guggenheim Museum.

Listen to discussion, "International Biennials"

Wind: Jungjin Lee

Jungjin Lee discussed her latest work with acclaimed photography critic and historian, Vicki Goldberg. Wind centers on the artist's response to the American desert as depicted through her unconventional prints on Korean paper, resulting in work with a subjective and cultural perspective. Recorded on March 26, 2011 at Aperture in association with sepiaEYE.

Listen to discussion on "Wind" with artist Jungjin Lee

Neo-Dada Mix/Remix:
Ushio Shinohara and Tomokazu Matsuyama

New York-based Japanese artists Ushio Shinohara (b. 1932) and Tomokazu Matsuyama (b. 1976) talked about their work and respective- often unconventional- approaches to the exploration of Japanese culture and history in this conversation with then Asia Society Associate Curator, Miwako Tezuka. Recorded on March 28, 2011 at Asia Society.

Listen to discussion, "Neo-Dada/Remix"

Women, Arts, and Activism:
Karin Chien, Amita Swadhin, Chang-Jin Lee

A film producer, an educator, and a conceptual artist joined together to discuss how their work carefully balances art and activism in this conversation with noted historian Joan Lebold Cohen. Recorded on March 30, 2011 at China Institute in collaboration with Asian Women Giving Circle and Ethan Cohen Fine Arts.

Listen to discussion, "Women, Arts, and Activism"

Fong Wah Phoebe Hui, Chaw Ei Thein, Firoz Mahmud:
The Role of Artists in Local Spaces and Global Society

Artists from Hong Kong, Burma and Bangladesh explored the challenges and opportunities encountered in maneuvering local art scenes while becoming increasingly engaged in global art forums, in this discussion moderated by ACAW Director, Leeza Ahmady. Recorded on March 30, 2011 at Location One in association with the Asian Cultural Council.

Listen to discussion, "The Role of Artists in Local Spaces and Global Society"

Yang Jiechang and Zheng Shengtian

Historian Jane DeBevoise engaged the artists in a spirited Q&A following a screening of Asia Art Archive's feature documentary From Jean-Paul Sartre to Teresa Teng: Contemporary Cantonese Art in the 1980s. Recorded on March 31, 2011 at Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) in association with Asia Art Archive.

Listen to the interview with Yang Jiechang and Zheng Shengtian

Almagul Menlibayeva with Leeza Ahmady and Priska Juschka

Leeza Ahmady speaks with photographer and video artist Almagul Menlibayeva, whose 2010 exhibition, Daughters of Turan, took place at New York's Priska C. Juschka Fine Art. Joining them for the conversation is Priska Juschka, founder of Priska C. Juschka Fine Art. Juschka offers an account of the history of her gallery and her interest in Menlibayeva's work, which examines the cultural, political and ecological history and growth of the artist's native Kazakhstan. Melibayeva discusses how the Soviet occupation of Kazakhstan informed her artistic growth and interests, alongside traditional Kazakh culture, and gives a brief introduction to the economic, geographic and political history of the country.

This event took place on April 29, 2010 and was presented by Priska C. Juschka Fine Art in collaboration with ArteEast's Across Histories: Artist Talk Series.

Listen to interview with Almagul Menlibayeva

Yun-Fei Ji with Don J. Cohn

In this conversation at James Cohan Gallery, Sr. Editor of Art Asia Pacific Magazine, Don J. Cohn interviews Yun-Fei Ji about his new body of work and his relationship with China. Yun-Fei Ji's second solo exhibition at the gallery included new works on paper and was the inaugural showcase of his impressive 32 foot long narrative scroll, Migrants from the Three Gorges Dam. Throughout the interview, listeners will be in awe of the calm and thoughtful manner in which Yun-Fei Ji fields Cohn's pressing and often provocative questions. The artist and editor tackle everything from Yun-Fei Ji's understanding of the state of contemporary China to his graphic, fantastical (at times critical) portrayal of Chinese history in his work. The artist discusses how affected he was on a recent trip to the Three Gorges region of China where he witnessed the immense cultural and physical displacement caused by the building and subsequent flooding of the Dam. The experience inspired him to conceive his latest works as a platform to create consciousness and understanding about issues facing China. Forced migration, displacement and increasing consumerism are a global concern, not unique to China. Yun-Fei Ji's ability to eloquently express his creative process with strong self-assurance is applaudable.

Listen to interview with Yun-Fei Ji

Lee Mingwei

Working behind a stunningly large, custom-built wooden table covered with used clothing, New York-based Taiwanese artist Lee Mingwei speaks with Leeza Ahmady during the performance of his 2009 exhibition The Mending Project. The interview takes place at Lambard-Freid Projects, host to the installation, where visitors would come with an article of clothing or house garment and have the artist personally mend the piece over the course of a conversation. Mingwei discusses the intentions behind making the focus his work a mundane task and turning a private act into an intimate one, stating, "I am interested in opening up beautiful moments of connection." He also speaks of his past works and how each seeks to highlight the banal elements of quotidian life, allowing for a transformative experience for both the artist and the participant (30 minutes).

Listen to Lee Mingwei, The Mending Project

Yeondoo Jung

South Korean artist Yeondoo Jung talks with Leeza Ahmady about his art and how his childhood exposure to Traditional Chinese Medicine, and early 19th century photographers continues to inspire his artistic thinking. He discusses his latest video, Hand Made Memory, where he has juxtaposed interviews of real life characters with entirely staged interpretations of their stories. He likes to offer transparency to his viewers about the process of his image construction. "The process is what is so exciting and I want to share how I play with multiple elements: fiction, truth, documentary and pure fantasy." In his first ever-live performance event Cinemagician, commissioned by Performa 2009, Jung integrates sound, camera feed-back, cinematic tricks, and the energy of a live magician in performance to create a magical experience for the audience (37 minutes).

Listen to interview with Yeondoo Jung

Bose Pacia

Leeza Ahmady in conversation with Bose Pacia gallery director Rebecca Davis. Find out about the gallery's exciting new space in Brooklyn, about their global reach, just what it takes to score a show at the place, and what it's like to be one of the only institutions to exclusively feature South Asian art. It's been a long road but, despite the economic downturn, Davis says Bose Pacia is thriving (30 minutes).

Rebecca Davis, Director, joined Bose Pacia two years ago, after completing an M.A. in Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Bose Pacia has launched the careers of some of the best known artists from South Asia who have now been included in the most prestigious museums and curated events worldwide. In this conversation, Leeza and Rebecca talk about Bose Pacia's growth as a gallery, the increased academic, institutional, and commercial interest in art from the region, and what lies ahead for the gallery. Rebecca gives us details on Bose Pacia's recent move from Chelsea to DUMBO and how they have been handling the recession. We also learn how the gallery started to build its impressive roster of artists and positioned itself at the forefront of contemporary South Asian avant-garde.

Listen to interview with Rebecca Davis

Guy Ben-Ner

Guy Ben-Ner, is an internationally renowned Isreali artist living and working in Tel Aviv and visiting New York to launch his latest video: Don't Drop the Monkey, commissioned by Performa 20o9. In this conversation with Leeza Ahmady, we hear about the artist's process of making videos, the intentions in his work, and his thoughts on how art and personal life mutually affect each other. Ben-Ner shares details about the making of the video--which he admits he titled with no real reference in the piece--in which the artist holds a telephone conversation with himself over a period of twelve months as he flies between Tel Aviv and Berlin. Ben-Ner's storyboard is life itself, the film is completely live and unedited, and each scene occurs in real time although with significant lapses in between. Shot in Hebrew, and dubbed in English, the film presents a conversation in rhyme, which discusses how art can be at the service of life and the repercussions of such a unified relationship. Mixing sophisticated cinematic devices and crafty, do-it-yourself elements, Ben-Ner's videos brim with witty cross-references to specific episodes and genres within the histories of cinema, video, and performance (31 minutes).

Ben-Ner's Don't Drop the Monkey was on view at the PERFORMA Hub at 41 Cooper Square in New York City through November 22, 2009

Listen to interview with Guy Ben-Ner

Crossing Borders: Contemporary Art in Troubled Places

Savita Apte, Chair of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, moderated a conversation with curators Leeza Ahmady and Carol Soloman about the unique issues surrounding the exhibition and creation of contemporary art in the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa. This conversation took place in conjunction with MAD's presentation of the 2009 Abraaj Capital Art Prize exhibition which featured: Nazgol Ansarinia, Kutlug Ataman, Zoulikha Bouabdellah.

Listen to Crossing Borders: Contemporary Art in Troubled Places