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Omar Kholeif, Curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, London appointed Curator of Armory Focus initiative
Portrait of Omar Kholeif.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Armory Show announces that Omar Kholeif, Curator at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, will curate the 2015 Armory Focus initiative.

Each year, Armory Focus highlights a different geographic region. This sixth edition of this curated section is titled Armory Focus: Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean (“Focus: MENAM”). Focus: MENAM will examine contemporary cultural and artistic practice from this dynamic part of the world. Reflecting on the region’s recent growth as a cultural hub, The Armory Show will showcase an exciting selection of key galleries and artists. The section will be comprised of monographic and curated presentations, along with site-specific projects and a dedicated symposium.

Curator Omar Kholeif notes that “the concept of the Global South has increasingly started to proliferate in the art world – in museums, the marketplace, and in criticism. It is essential for one to consider alternative centers, or starting points for the history of art, as cultural output, audiences and collecting becomes more global.”

With this expanded map of the Middle East, Focus: MENAM aims to show the parallel history of unification and separation across multiple countries, dispelling older notions of regional isolation. The salon-style section will be a journey through history and geography, embracing the recent flourishing of artistic practices and institutions in this territory.

This year’s Focus section will be presented in collaboration with Edge of Arabia, a non-profit arts and education enterprise and cultural platform connecting artists & ideas between the Middle East and western world. Edge of Arabia, in partnership with Art Jameel, is currently embarked on a three-year, cross-cultural tour across the United States of America, with the aim to connect artists, bridge communities and inspire renewed collaboration across borders. An artistic expedition in search of connections and empathy across cultures, the first leg of the US tour will coincide with The Armory Show, celebrating the outcomes of multiple artistic projects connecting the two territories.

Noah Horowitz, Executive Director of The Armory Show states, “This year’s focus initiative will help shine light on a thriving part of the contemporary art world which to date has achieved only limited visibility in the American market, despite its increasingly sophisticated commercial and institutional developments and the wealth of artistic talent within it. Through the unique vision of Omar Kholeif, achieved in partnership with Edge of Arabia, we hope this year’s section will create dialogue with our audiences both in New York and also internationally about how the region is defined and how it is interpreted both at home and abroad."

The Armory Show is New York’s leading fair for modern and contemporary art. A seminal event in the annual New York arts calendar, the fair spearheads Armory Arts Week, a city-wide program of cultural events and exhibitions. The Armory Show 2015 will again feature an acclaimed VIP program, a lively opening night benefit party at the Museum of Modern Art and the engaging Open Forum discussion series. Next year’s fair timing will also coincide again with The Art Show, organized by The Art Dealers Association of America, whom The Armory show has consistently been in partnership with, and other art fairs including VOLTA, Moving Image, Independent, Scope, and Pulse, further enhancing the line-up of Armory Arts Week events planned in partnership with New York’s leading cultural institutions, and attracting a wide scope of international collectors, curators, scholars, and press.

The selection of The Armory Show’s artist commission for 2015 will be announced on 27th October.

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