“Sheikha Al Mayassa”

In the public eye: the ups and downs of public art

Paris, 29 January 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA). Public art is designed to engage people in their surroundings. A visual installation acts as a bridge, connecting the public to the space around them. Traditionally reserved for commemorative statues and memorials in town centres, the domain of public art developed after the 1960s civil rights movements, when people began to claim urban spaces as their own. The regeneration of built-up areas after the Second World War placed more of a value on public space, reworking sculpture from merely a decorative addition to a space to something which defined it, unified people, and appealed to the greater social interest. Artists such as Henry Moore became prominent producers of public art, combining the broader social desire to return to rationality with a refined abstraction, and as such Moore was viewed as “the voice of British sculpture” following the war. In recent years, the sphere has developed into a thought-provoking art form which constantly challenges the boundaries of space to ask questions about community, our relationship to each other, our place within our environment, and what constitutes art. Today, public art continues to spark fierce debate across all realms of society. Public involvement Art installations increasingly use innovative new techniques to involve people in the form. In 2009, Antony Gormley’s project One & Other invited members of the public to occupy the fourth plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square for an hour each, transfiguring the spectator into the artwork. The 2,400 “living sculptures” did everything from campaigning for rights for disabled people to posing naked, providing the civilian with a literal platform and thus blurring the lines between art and everyday life. In a less intrusive manner, Anish Kapoor’s 2006 sculpture Cloud Gate also makes the spectator part of both the artwork and the environment...

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Sheikha Al-Mayassa named art-world leader

Qatar, 31 October 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). Her Excellence Sheikha Al-Thani has been named the most important figure in the world of art. Sheikha, a woman of thirty years of age, is the daughter of the former Emir of Qatar and the sister of the current Emir. She has control of the largest sum of money of anyone in the world, when taking into account the sums spent on Western modern and contemporary artworks. It is estimated that her family spends more than £600 million a year on works, which are exhibited in Qatar’s museums. Sheikha Mayassa is at the top of the annual ArtReview Power 100, having notably spent a record of £160 million for a version of Joueurs de Cartes by Paul...

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Qatar commissions a sculpture from Richard Serra for new park in Doha

Doha, 3 June 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). Today, the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) announced the opening of the MIA Park, a new tourist destination in the city of Doha on the grounds of the famous Museum of Islamic art. The inauguration will take place on 16 December 2011. The crescent-shaped park, designed by Pei Partnership Architects in New York, will be 280,000 square meters large and display a vertical steel sculpture by American artist Richard Serra. The untitled piece is his first public commission in the Middle East and represents a veritable symbol for QMA, as it encourages international cultural exchanges and introduces the Doha community to the rest of the world. The MIA Park will feature five kilometres of pedestrian paths shaded by indigenous palm trees. In addition, the park will feature kiosks, films screenings, sport events, workshops and a café. According to the president of QMA Sir Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, “MIA Park will be a dynamic place of learning and exploration for children, families and art enthusiasts, with cultural, educational and recreational activities designed to attract one and all”, as reported on Alarab...

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