Plus: Bachchan launches Kher's self-help tome; Farhan Ahktar elated with Don 2's success; and James Franco sells a novel to Amazon.
Today's entertainment news: Dubai galleries to show at Art Basel
Two Dubai-based galleries have confirmed that they've been accepted to participate in Art Basel in June, an event often referred to as the "Olympics of the art world".
Green Art Gallery and Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde (IVDE), both in the Al Serkal Avenue compound of galleries in Al Quoz, have been accepted to exhibit their works in the art fair's Statement section, which welcomes younger, emergent galleries to assemble a solo show of one of their artists.
This local participation represents the first time that a Dubai gallery has made it into the famously exclusive 43-year-old Swiss event.
"I think any gallery, wherever they are in the world, aspires to get into Art Basel at some point," said Yasmin Atassi, the director of Green Art Gallery. "Being the most important art fair in the world and the most sought after in term of selection, admission and quality brings an incredible recognition both to the gallery and the artists with whom we work."
While exhibitors from Beirut and Istanbul have participated before, this does represent a more solid Gulf interest from Basel. Galleries apply to exhibit in Art Basel via a stringent proposal-based application process, and Atassi says she will be taking works by Palestinian video artist Shadi Habib Allah to the fair. "Basel is very competitive and you need to present a project that really distinguishes you from the thousands of proposals they receive.
"It needs to be very international in scope. What sometime works here in the region will not work in Basel."
Gallery IVDE has opted for a focus on one of its biggest-hitting Iranian artists, Rokni Haerizadeh, who will present a new video work and selection of works on paper. "Both reflect on the 'spectacle of violence' seen in the media - the insatiable appetite of modern society for such images, a sort of new pop culture," said Tessa De Caters, director of IVDE.
"Art Basel stated in last year's catalogue that it is looking to reflect 'influences and impulses from every corner of the earth' and so the Middle East cannot be ignored," she said.
"The UAE has demonstrated an impressive vitality to develop its art scene and offer platforms for the artists of the region. As one of the first galleries of contemporary Middle Eastern art in Dubai, we are extremely pleased to be part of this major event, which serves as an annual barometer for the state of the international art world."
Art Basel has yet to release its full gallery list, usually out in the next month. Keep an eye on www.artbasel.com. The event runs from June 14 to 17.
Bachchan launches Kher's self-help tome
Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan launched a book on Tuesday written by actor Anupam Kher at the Le Sutra hotel in suburban Mumbai.
Titled The Best Thing About You Is You, the 328-page tome is a motivational self-help book by Kher, who runs the acting school Actor Prepares in Mumbai and is among the few Bollywood actors who successfully made the switch to western films.
"The book is available at all the leading stores in the country. So go and pick up your copy and make me and yourself happy," Kher wrote on Twitter.
Kher mentioned that penning his book, participating in the anti-corruption campaign spearheaded by social activist Anna Hazare and sharing screen space with Hollywood star Robert De Niro were three highlights of 2011 for the actor.
Kher is scheduled to play host to De Niro when he visits his acting school later this year.
Farhan Ahktar elated with Don 2's success
Shah Rukh Khan's Don 2 is set to cross the magical figure of Rs1 billion (Dh69m) at the box office this week, according to Bollywood trade analyst Taran Adarsh.
Adarsh revealed that the film collected Rs40m on Friday, Rs 60m on Saturday and Rs86m on New Year's Day.
Shah Rukh Khan's 2011 film Ra. One crossed the Rs1bn mark and Don 2 appears to be on its way to achieve the same landmark, trade pundits said.
"Don 2 still going strong … And now time for me to get stronger for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag … Bring it on!", the film's director Farhan Ahktar tweeted on Tuesday. In Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, the actor-director plays sprinter Milkha Singh, also known as the Flying Sikh. Ahktar reportedly underwent a rigorous training session to get into shape to play the legendary Indian athlete.
James Franco sells first novel to Amazon
The Hollywood actor-performance artist-writer-grad student James Franco has astonishingly found the time to finish another literary work, after releasing Palo Alto, his collection of short stories in 2010.
Franco has sold a book titled Actors Anonymous to Amazon's publishing division, abandoning traditional publishing houses.
The novel is "a fictionalised version of Mr Franco's experiences as an actor", reported The New York Observer.