Almanac 2009

Now in its 15th year, ArtAsiaPacific continues to traverse the varied terrain of contemporary art in Asia. All year long, the editors of the special annual issue, The Almanac, pursue the people, places and works of art in their region of expertise. This collected body of knowledge forms The Almanac, which since its debut in 2006, has served artists, collectors, museum directors, curators, gallerists and graphic designers as a prime source for images, statistics and analysis from the art world in the Asia-Pacific region. This year, the fourth edition builds on the orderly mix of pictures, maps, figures and forecasts that informed our first three steps in this direction. Created for readers who need a detailed overview of contemporary art across the Asia-Pacific region, The Almanac has quickly established itself as the most comprehensive resource available on the art scene in 67 countries. 

To provide readers with an accurate resume of 2008, Almanac co-editors, Maymanah Farhat in West Asia, Susan Kendzulak covering Southeast Asia, Deeksha Nath looking at South Asia, Sara Raza examining the complex region of Central Asia and Sarah Tutton reviewing the island-nations in the Pacific, have consulted an ever-expanding range of personal sources and references on- and off-line. Led by Almanac editor Andrew Maerkle, who has worked on every previous edition of The Almanac, and together with the assistance of Clara Hee Jin Chon, Don J Cohn, Eti Bonn-Muller, Neena Deb-Sen, Hanae Ko, Yi-Zhen Lai-Tremewan, Audrey Luk, Sen-Je Yuan and AAP’s desk editors, they scanned websites and databases, scoured archives and blogs and scanned publications in English as well as European and Asian languages. Navigating through a dozen time zones, they spoke to artists, dealers, critics, curators, diplomats, government officials and specialists to chronicle the changing cultural calendar up to the end of December 2008. We are grateful to these dedicated individuals who share their knowledge, resources and efforts with us. 

Among the 10 special contributors to The Almanac 2009, Volume 4, are visionary artists Dinh Q Lê and Xu Bing. Saffronart’s Minal Vazirani and Sotheby’s Rivka Saker, along with private dealer and art consultant Yoshiko Isshiki, provide a market perspective on supporting new artistic initiatives. Iconoclastic British collector Frank Cohen reflects on the creative energy in Asian, while curators Tobias Berger, Vasif Kortun, Letila Mitchell and Farah Wardani offer critical takes on a helter-skelter year.

Veteran readers will appreciate The Almanac’s immaculate layout.  ArtAsiaPacific’s art director Joon Mo Kang with the assistance of Raul Aguila, Mika Osborne and photo editor Alis Atwell have streamlined The Almanac’s design, arranging the abundant data and illustrations in just under 300 pages. As always, The Almanac is divided into two parts. The first presents events happening around the globe, while the second offers detailed reports on the year’s artistic activities in the 67 countries—from Turkey in the west to Tonga in the east—in the region we define as the Asia-Pacific.

2008 turned out to be a mad year on many fronts. Major world news events—from the crippling global economic crisis to the heated political unrest in Ulaanbaatar, Mumbai and Bangkok, sent the world into a tailspin. The aftershocks from these events will be felt by nearly all—from pioneering art spaces to independent collectors— throughout the globe. Still, ArtAsiaPacific remains committed to recording the successes and failures, the highs and lows, and the ins and outs of contemporary art and its artists.