The Davidoff Art Initiative seeks to engage leading members of the creative community and the contemporary art field, in particular in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean region, to inform our work.
Next to the International Art Advisory Council, which provides general guidance for our programs, the Davidoff Art Initiative is working in partnership with nominators and supporters from around the world, including like-minded foundations, cultural institutions, and individuals, to create an open exchange of information and ideas around the initiative.
Aaron is the founding Director of Delfina Foundation, where he develops and oversees its interrelated programme of residencies, exhibitions and public platforms
Over the last six years, he has positioned Delfina Foundation as a meeting point and incubator of creative talent, forming partnerships with leading institutions internationally. Independently and through Delfina Foundation, he sits on numerous boards, committees and advisory groups such as All Change Arts, Shubbak, the Young Arab Theatre Fund, the Marrakech Biennale, the Jarman Award 2012, among many others.
Prior to Delfina Foundation, Aaron worked as Project Director of Metal, the artistic laboratory space established by Jude Kelly OBE, ultimately becoming Managing Director of Metal’s arts-based consultancy overseeing creative projects with a focus on urban regeneration. He has also worked with London 2012, as part of its culture team that secured London’s Olympic bid; at The Place, London; and in New York, as a management consultant. Also working as a creative producer, Aaron has first degrees in Economics and Dance from Princeton University and a postgraduate degree in the Creative Industries from King’s College London.
Amanda Coulson is a Bahamian/American art critic and curator based in Nassau on the island of New Providence, where she is currently the Director of The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas.
She studied for her Master’s Degree at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU and after working in various galleries in New York, Paris and London, she started her critical career in Milan where she spent 2 years as English Language Editor of the international edition of tema celeste magazine. She has written for a variety of art journals, including Frieze, Frieze d/e, Modern Painters, Contemporary, Lápiz, Art Review and ARTnews.
In 2005, she was one of the co-founders of the VOLTA fair in Basel, Switzerland. Acting as Executive Director since 2007 she oversaw the growth and development of the fair, including conceiving the solo show idea for the inaugural edition of VOLTA NY in 2008.
Since the early 2000s Gabi Ngcobo has been engaged in collaborative artistic, curatorial, and educational projects in South Africa and on an international scope. She is a founding member of the Johannesburg based collaborative platforms NGO – Nothing Gets Organised and Center for Historical Reenactments (CHR, 2010–14). NGO focusses on processes of self-organization that take place outside of predetermined structures, definitions, contexts, or forms. The CHR responded to the demands of the moment through an exploration of how historical legacies impact and resonate within contemporary art.
Recently Ngcobo co-curated the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, 2016, which took place at the Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion in São Paulo, BR, and A Labour of Love, 2015, at Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt am Main, DE. She has worked at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town, SA, and at the Cape Africa Platform where she co-curated the Cape07 Biennale, 2007, Cape Town, SA. In the past she has collaborated with various institutions including Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno (CAAM), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, ES; Durban Art Gallery, SA; Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg, SA; Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism (JWTC), Johannesburg, SA; LUMA/Westbau, Pool, Zurich, CH; New Museum, Museum as Hub, New York, US; and Raw Material Company, Dakar, SN, amongst others. She has been teaching at the Wits School of Arts, University of Witswatersrand, SA since 2011. Her writings have been published in various catalogues, books, and journals.
Gabi Ngcobo already shares connections with the Berlin Biennale: In 2008 she participated in the second edition of the Young Curators Workshop Eyes Wide Open on occasion of the 5th Berlin Biennale, and in 2014 the Center for Historical Reenactments presented its project Digging Our Own Graves 101 as part of the 8th Berlin Biennale.
Mareike Dittmer is associate publisher of frieze magazine. Trained in cultural studies and communication at UDK Berlin, she started working with frieze in 1999. Since 2011 she is also part of the editorial team of mono.kultur, a Berlin based interview magazine. Over the years Mareike has been involved with a number of exhibition and book projects and most currently she is one of the chairmen of the 9th Futurological Congress 2016 - 2018. She lives in Berlin, Germany.
Dr. Omar Kholeif is the Manilow Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Previously he was Curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, London; Senior Curator at Cornerhouse, and director and curator of numerous organizations in the UK devoted to contemporary art and film. He is the author and or editor of over twenty books, including You Are Here: Art After the Internet (Cornerhouse 2014), Moving Image (MIT Press, 2015), The Rumors of the World: Re-thinking Trust in the Age of the Internet (Sternberg Press 2015), Goodbye World! (Sternberg Press, forthcoming), and The Artists Who Will Change the World (Thames and Hudson, forthcoming).
Philip Tinari is director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. There he oversees an exhibition program devoted to established figures and rising talents both Chinese and international, aimed at an annual public of more than half a million visitors. Prior to joining UCCA in 2011 he was founding editor-in-chief of the bilingual, international art magazine LEAP. He previously served as China advisor to Art Basel, founding editor of Artforum’s Chinese-language website, and lecturer in art criticism at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. He has written and spoken extensively on contemporary art in China, and sits on advisory boards to institutions including the Guggenheim and Asia Society. In March 2014 he curated the Focus: China section of The Armory Show in New York.
Simon Castets is the Director and Curator of the Swiss Institute, New York and co-founder of 89plus. He holds an MA in Curatorial Studies from Columbia University and a MA in Cultural Management from Sciences Po, Paris. He has curated exhibitions at Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Federico Vavassori, Milan; Karma International, Zurich; Yvon Lambert, Paris and Taka Ishii Gallery, Kyoto, among others. His writing has appeared in such publications as Mousse, PIN UP, Flash Art and Kaleidoscope.
AICA Southern Caribbean is a regional section of the International Art Critics Association with members in Barbados, Cuba, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, Haiti, Cayman Islands and Bermuda.
One of the main aims of the AICA Southern Caribbean is promoting communication and interaction between the art critics of the region and consequently, between the artistic communities of the participating countries. Conferences and meetings are organized in the different Caribbean regions in order to improve this communication, often accompanied by visits to galleries and artists’ studios. The second possibility is the website which brings the different members together.
Created in 1997, this section has carried out several important projects. The most recent are Theory and critique of art in the Caribbean and short videos about Caribbean artists.
ARC Magazine is a non-profit print and online publication and social platform launched in 2011. It seeks to fill a certain void by offering a critical space for contemporary artists to present their work while fostering and developing critical dialogues and opportunities for crucial points of exchange, scholarship and study. ARC is an online and social space of interaction with a developed methodology of sharing information about contemporary practices, exhibitions, partnerships, and opportunities occurring in the Caribbean region and throughout its diasporas. ARC’s mission is to build awareness by fostering exchanges and opportunities that expand creative culture, within the visual arts industry across the wider Caribbean and its diasporas.
The Altos de Chavón Cultural Center Foundation, located in La Romana, Dominican Republic, is a not-for-profit cultural and educational institution. Since its formation, in 1983, it has been dedicated to the creation of a multifaceted arts community that includes visual arts, crafts workshops, performing arts and teaching programs.
With its interrelated components—The Regional Museum of Archaeology, the Artists in Residence program, The Gallery, and The School of Design—The Foundation has contributed to the enrichment of the intellectual, artistic, and cultural panorama of the Dominican Republic for more than 30 years. Graduates of The School of Design have achieved successful placement in the various areas of the design world’s growing community, both nationally and internationally. The Artists in Residence program has made a valuable contribution to national artistic exchange that has reached around the world.
In 2013, The Altos de Chavón Cultural Center Foundation celebrated 30 years of continuous and invaluable contributions to art and culture in the Dominican Republic. The Foundation’s work has touched many, with impressive results. Its diverse educational and arts programs, set in a luxuriant natural landscape, give Altos de Chavón the cultural dynamism that nourishes and stimulates the creativity of the designers and artists of today and tomorrow.
Art Basel stages the world’s premier Modern and contemporary art shows, held annually in Basel, Miami Beach, and Hong Kong. Founded by gallerists in 1970, Art Basel has been a driving force in supporting the role that galleries play in the nurturing of artists, and the development and promotion of visual arts.
In addition to showing exciting works by world-renowned artists, Art Basel is always innovating, thus expanding its platform for new artists who represent the vanguard of the visual arts. Its worldwide reputation – earned over the last forty years – for showing work of the highest merit, and attracting the world’s leading gallerists and collectors, has made Art Basel the place where the artworld meets.
The Art Institute is a place where artists teach artists. A place where practice determines thinking, decisions, and conversations around the nature of doing in art. The Art Institute introduces a spatial structure where the artist / students’ minds are at work. All sessions have no subject or theme other than themselves, apart from an intention to investigate the conditions of contemplating artist production today.
Atelier Mondial is an international and interdisciplinary grant program offering artists in various disciplines, such as the visual arts, digital media arts, dance and literature, from the Basel Region (Cantons of Basel-Stadt, Basel-Land and Solothurn), Southern Baden and the Alsace the opportunity to spend several months abroad in one of 11 partner countries. Once a year fourteen studio grants are open for applications, as well as one travel grant for an independent project and one research grant, which is explicitly intended for art outreach and art education professionals of the region. The studio grant consists of a financial contribution to help cover living expenses as well as the free-of-charge use of a studio with an apartment or a live-in studio abroad. A professional jury selects all these grantees once a year.
Caribbean Linked is a regional residency and exhibition organised by Ateliers ’89 Foundation in collaboration with ARC Inc. and The Fresh Milk Art Platform Inc. It is a crucial space for building awareness across disparate creative communities by bringing together emerging artists from Anglophone, Francophone, Hispanic and Dutch Antillean Caribbean islands.
Delfina Foundation is an independent, non-profit foundation dedicated to facilitating artistic exchange and developing creative practice through residencies, partnerships and public programming.
Since its inception in 2012, the Dhaka Art Summit has become the world’s largest non-commercial platform for South Asian art - a combination of an exhibition and research platform. The Summit brings together leading artists, curators, writers and researchers for 4 days in Bangladesh which creates ripple effects increasing artistic engagement between South Asia and the rest of the world, further diffusing boundaries and expanding global creative collaborations and practice. The Summit is free and open to all, and was enjoyed by a local audience of 70,000 people in the 2014 edition.
FLORA ars+natura is a space for contemporary art in Bogotá, Colombia, that specializes in the relationship between art and nature. FLORA’s foci are: production through commissions and residencies; the circulation of the results, and education.
FLORA is a meeting place for artists and those interested in contemporary art. It’s a space with an open character and a domestic scale, with a high level of quality. FLORA intends to become a point of reference for the local scene in Bogotá, establishing links with the rest of the country and abroad through international residencies, commissioned projects, and intense educational activity.
The Künstlerhaus Bethanien is an international cultural centre in Berlin. An artist-in-residence programme with workspaces for professional artists and exhibition spaces, it is dedicated to the advancement of contemporary visual arts. As part of its residency scheme, it aims to establish a lively dialogue between artists from various backgrounds and disciplines, and the public at large.
To achieve these goals, the Künstlerhaus Bethanien organises a wide range of events ranging from monthly exhibition openings to private and public studio visits (“Open Studios”). The focus of its manifold missions is the International Studio Programme, where artists from around the world conceive and present new projects with the help of its team. The Künstlerhaus Bethanien continually strives to expand its international network by securing new partnerships.
Housed in the historic Villa Doyle, built in the 1860s and lovingly restored in the 1990s, the NAGB preserves the National Collection of Bahamian Art, part of which is on permanent display on the ground floor. Upper galleries engage the history of Bahamian Art and Visual culture and support contemporary movements and experimental contemporary art practice through temporary exhibitions. The NAGB also has an extensive public program schedule, community and regional projects and partnerships, arts education workshops, and a free public art library.
Pérez Art Museum Miami serves one of the most diverse populations in one of the fastest growing regions in the country, where a unique confluence of Caribbean, North and South American cultures adds vibrancy and texture to the civic landscape. The city’s thriving community of artists, designers and collectors and its avid and growing art-engaged public are driving Miami’s demand for a world-class museum and dynamic center of visual arts education.
PAMM transformed Museum Park into a central destination on Miami’s cultural map, promotes progressive arts education, builds community cohesiveness and contributes substantially to downtown revitalization.
Red Gate Gallery was founded in 1991 by Australian, Brian Wallace, who first traveled to China in 1984. He returned staying to study and to work then entered the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing to study Chinese Art History. Through 1988-9 he organized exhibitions with friends at the Ancient Observatory. The contemporary art scene was in its infancy. Wallace established Red Gate Gallery in the Ming Dynasty Watchtower at Dongbianmen. The inaugural exhibition of July 1991 showcased the works of Zhang Yajie, Dagong, Wang Lifeng and Wang Luyan. In 2011 Red Gate Gallery celebrated it’s 20th year with a exhibition in Beijing, Shanghai and a tour of Australia in 2012. For 22 years Red Gate has been at the forefront of Chinese contemporary art.
Res Artis is the worldwide network of artist residencies with over 500 centers, organisations, and individuals as its members in more than 70 countries. Since 1993, due to the volunteer efforts of the Board of Directors, the office staff in Amsterdam and countless partners and friends, Res Artis has grown to become the largest network of its kind, promoting the role of artist residencies as a vital part of the contemporary arts world, stimulating the creative development and mobility of artists, and furthering intercultural understanding.
“Encounter the world in residencies”
Residency Unlimited (RU) is a Brooklyn-based international artist-centered organization established in 2009. Residency Unlimited supports the creative process through its uniquely customized residency format dedicated to its work with artists and curators to realize the creation, presentation and dissemination of their work. Moving beyond the traditional studio model, RU’s mission is achieved through strategic partnerships with a wide range of collaborating institutions in the U.S and internationally.
Swiss Institute is an independent non-profit contemporary art institution dedicated to promoting forward-thinking and experimental art making through innovative exhibitions and programs. Committed to the highest standards of curatorial and educational excellence, Swiss Institute serves as a platform for emerging artists, catalyzes new contexts for celebrated work, and fosters appreciation for under-recognized positions. Open to the public free-of-charge, Swiss Institute seeks to explore how a national perspective can foster international conversations in the fields of visual and performing arts, design and architecture.
Tilting Axis is a roving project conceptualized by ARC Magazine and the Fresh Milk Art Platform Inc. The first iteration was hosted at Fresh Milk in Barbados on February 27 + 28, 2015 under the banner “Tilting Axis: Within and Beyond the Caribbean | Shifting Models of Sustainability and Connectivity.” The two-day conference brought together independent art organisations and museums operating across the Caribbean, U.S., E.U. and China. The goal of the meeting was to negotiate strategic regional and international alliances for the further development of infrastructure, production and markets for the Caribbean’s visual arts sector.
A mid-point meeting, Tilting Axis 1.5, will take place in São Paulo, Brasil in collaboration with Southern Panoramas, 19 Contemporary Art Festival SESC_Videobrasil on October 8th.
Tilting Axis 2.0 is being hosted by the Pérez Art Museum Miami from February 19-21 2016. This meeting will explore the current state of cultural work in the Caribbean, fortify networks, increase administrative and programming capacities, as well as transfer knowledge and funding opportunities to those working in the region.
The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) is an independent, not-for-profit art center serving a global Beijing public. Located at the heart of Beijing’s 798 Art District, it was founded by the Belgian collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens and opened in November 2007. Through a diverse array of exhibitions with artists Chinese and international, established and emerging, as well as a wide range of public programs, UCCA aims to promote the continued development of the Chinese art scene, foster international exchange, and showcase the latest in art and culture to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
Uprising-art.com is the portal of Caribbean contemporary art which aims at contributing to the emergence and the international diffusion of the artists of the islands of this area. Uprising-art.com is animated by two strong beliefs: what place to give to the Caribbean as an emerging space on the scene of international contemporary art, and the communication potential of the Internet that allows more than ever to transcend the distances.
András Szántó is a New York-based, Budapest-born writer, researcher, and Chief Consultant to the Davidoff Art Initiative. The co-author and editor of five books, Szántó is a contributing editor for The Art Newspaper and co-founder of ArtworldSalon. He was previously Director of the National Arts Journalism Program and the NEA Arts Journalism Institute at Columbia University, and has lectured on art business and marketing at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art. He advises leading museums, foundations, and corporations worldwide and is a moderator of the Art Basel Conversations series.
Dominique Bluhdorn is President of the Altos de Chavón Cultural Center Foundation in the Dominican Republic, which was founded in 1978 by her father, Charles Bluhdorn. Working with Parsons Executive Dean David C. Levy, she developed plans for the Altos de Chavón School of Design, a Latin American affiliate of Parsons, and opened the two-year university-level school, offering an Associate of Arts degree, in 1983. Personally dedicated to the arts and to art and design education, Dominique is a member of the Board of Governors of Parsons The New School for Design, The Board of Trustees of The New School, and has served on the boards of the Corcoran Gallery, in Washington, D.C., and The New York Academy of Art, and Opera at The Academy in New York City. She lives between Santo Domingo and New York.
Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, the Danish-born President and CEO of Oettinger Davidoff, has steered the family-owned company since 2011. Hoejsgaard has more than 25 years of experience in the consumer goods field, including 15 years in senior leadership positions in premier luxury goods enterprises, across publicly listed, family-held, and private-equity owned firms in Asia, India, Europe, and the United States. Now based in Switzerland, Hoejsgaard is leading Davidoff through an ambitious phase of growth and new direction, including spearheading the new partnership with Art Basel and the launch of the Davidoff Art Initiative.
Born in Mexico City in 1972, Pablo León de la Barra earned his Ph.D in Histories and Theories from the Architectural Association, London. He has curated or co-curated more than a dozen exhibitions over the past decade, including The Camino Real Arcades (2012), Proyecto AMIL, Lima, Peru; Novo Museo Tropical, Teorética, San Jose, Costa Rica (2012); Microclimas, Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland (2012); Marta ‘Che’ Traba, Museo La Ene, Buenos Aires (co-curated with Beatriz López, 2012); Incidents of Mirror Travel in Yucatan and Elsewhere, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City (2011); Incidentes de Viaje en Centroamérica, Chiapas, Yucatán y otros lugares [Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, Yucatan and Elsewhere], Centro Cultural de España, Guatemala City (2010), and To Be Political it Has to Look Nice, apexart and Art in General, New York (2003). In London, he was a founding member of 24-7, a collective of artists and curators (2002-05), artistic director of Blow de la Barra Gallery (2005-08), and founder and co-curator of the community art space White Cubicle Gallery (2005-12). He is also the founder of the Novo Museo Tropical, and was the curator of the first Bienal Tropical in San Juan, Puerto Rico (2011). León de la Barra serves on the advisory committees of the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami, and the Fundación Luis Barragán, Mexico. In 2012, he received the first Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Travel Award for Central America and the Caribbean.
Rocío Aranda-Alvarado is Associate Curator of El Museo del Barrio in New York, where she organised The (S) Files, a biennial of Latin American art. Prior to joining in 2009 she was a curator at the Jersey City Museum from 2000 where she curated Hair Tactis, 2010; Beth Gilfilen: The Big Hunch, 2008; 99 Cents, by Colwyn Griffith, 2007; and The Feminine Mystique, 2007. Recently, she was part of the curatorial team for the exhibition Caribbean: Crossroads of the World at the Queens Museum of Art, at El Museo del Barrio and in The Studio Museum in Harlem, in New York, 2012-2013
Sara Hermann is a Dominican art historian, curator, and founder of the creative collaboration agency, Estudio del Sur. She has curated several exhibitions and written extensively on Dominican, Caribbean and Latin American Art. Sara was Visual Arts Specialist at the Centro Cultural Eduardo León Jimenes (2005-2013), Director of the Museo de Arte Moderno (MAM) in Santo Domingo (2000-2005), and Coordinator of the Publications Department (1992-2000). Along with her research and curatorial work, Sara Hermann has lectured at universities in the Dominican Republic on Contemporary Caribbean Art and the History of Caribbean Art.