Wednesday, October 30, 2013


The grim business of setting up appointments, meeting curators and collectors, answering queries from curious graduate students and granting interviews to journalists who would be more at home writing for the Food Section of their local tabloid is the part of the art business that my good friend Currado Malaspina loves best.

Dahlia Danton at the Doha Women's Conference, 2013
Unlike his much younger colleague and former maîtresse primaire Dahlia Danton, Currado does not approach the task with any resentment or reluctance. Quite the contrary, Malaspina moves effortlessly from the quaint ignorance of the rich to the craven sycophancy of the critics to the earnest entreaties of aspiring young acolytes looking to advance their careers by simple propinquity. 

It's all the same to Currado. It's attention and he's addicted to it like a dog is to dirt.

And so when Abduhalikh Göktürks, Royal Sharid of Aqaba commissioned Currado for an unofficial court portrait he was tickled by the opportunity. 

Portrait of Abduhalikh, oil on canvas, Malaspina, 2013
As is well known, Aqaba's growing community of art collectors has shaken up the market beyond recognition. The recent opening of The Sovereign Jordanian Museum of Contemporary Art has signaled nothing less than a sea change in the dynamics of Middle Eastern patronage.

With the opening of a satellite campus of Somerset Lucknow University just outside the town of Kanafeh (which offers programs in Computer Science, Accounting and the Fine Arts), the area is quickly assuming a hipster desert caché. Currado, always alert to unusual opportunities is happy to be one of the first on board. And while most would balk, seeing only political instability and unsettling flux, Currado see's it raining dinars, dirhams and qirsh.

He's even learning how to snorkel! 

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