ZOOM Focuses on New Art from the Middle East


The ZOOM Contemporary Art Fair is the first Art Basel Miami Beach satellite fair to solely present art from the Middle East and its Diaspora. Occupying the first floor of the South Seas Hotel in Miami Beach through December 5th, ZOOM features 58 artists from 20 international galleries and institutions that are based in 11 different countries. Presenting exhibitions, talks, performances, film and video programs, and book signings, ZOOM brings a cross section of the burgeoning Middle East art scene to critics, curators, and collectors.

ZOOM director Angeliki Georgiou worked with advisors Sam Bardaouil of Art Reoriented and Shamim M. Momin from Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND) to uniquely organize a fair that mixes Arab, Israeli, and Islamic artists, as well as galleries and institutions from the Middle East and America. Standout spaces include New York’s Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery, London’s Edge of Arabia, Carbon 12 Gallery from Dubai; Artis from Tel Aviv and New York, Bahrain’s Albarah Art Gallery, and Townhouse from Cairo. We spoke to Georgiou about the new fair.

Flavorpill: What’s the scope of the ZOOM Contemporary Art Fair?

Angeliki Georgiou: The goal of the art fair is to present a new perspective with a strong curatorial presence that encourages viewers to explore current issues and trends in contemporary art.

FP: What is the extent of your interest in the art of the Middle East?

AG: We are very much interested in the current trends that are pervading the region — the work is dynamic, diverse, and fresh.

FP: Why did you choose Miami Beach for the place to launch a fair of Middle Eastern art for a Western audience?

AG: We thought of Miami Beach for one of the same reasons Art Basel originally did. Miami is the gateway to Latin America and many consider Miami Beach as New York City’s sixth borough. There is an untapped market of millions of Latin Americans of Arab descent; New York is only a short ride away and Miami is an affordable destination.

FP: How does the idea of mixing Arab, Israeli, and Islamic artists, as well as galleries and institutions from the Middle East and America, fit into your overall concept for the fair?

AG: Rather than separating our exhibitors — galleries and non-profits — based on their organizational structure, ZOOM blurs the lines between the two practices and presents a multifaceted visual dialogue, which puts artists in the spotlight. ZOOM’s curators chose the artworks based on their artistic merit rather than through a neo-Orientalist umbrella of geo-cultural identity.

Click through below for a selection of our favorite works from the fair.

Shadi Ghadirian, Ctrl+Alt+Del #9, 2006 at Albareh Gallery, Adliya, Kingdom of Bahrain

Abdulnasser Gharem, Men at Work, 2010 at Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah

Lamia Naji, Are you there V, 2008 at Galerie El Marsa, La Marsa, Tunisia

Servet Kocyigit, Motherland, 2009 at Outlet, Istanbul

Nadim Asphar, Lucky Star, 2008 at Espace Kettaneh Kunigk Tanit, Beirut/Munich

Orit Ben-Shitrit, Men Die and They Are Not Happy, 2010 at Artis

Ahmed Mater, Illumination VII & VIII, 2009 at Edge of Arabia, London

Oussama Diab, The New Liberty, 2010 at Ayyam Gallery, Damascus

Faisal Samra, Performance #19 from the Distorted Reality series, 2007 at Albareh Gallery, Adliya, Kingdom of Bahrain

Sara Rahbar, Leyli Jan (Dear Leyli), 2010 at Carbon 12 Gallery, Dubai

Abdulrahman Katanani, Auto-portrait, 2010 at Agial Art Gallery, Beirut