'I want to see more business, GCC, art news'

I want to see more business, GCC, art news

Dubai - Guillaume Cuiry says newspapers have been like his breakfast for several decades now.


Nivriti Butalia

Published: Sun 16 Apr 2017, 12:45 PM

Last updated: Mon 17 Apr 2017, 4:30 PM

Guillaume Cuiry has this old habit. He wakes up at 5 am ("5.30, if I'm really lazy") and reads a bunch of newspapers for a couple of hours, till 9 am. At 10 am, the biker has to be at his gallery in Al Quoz. Cuiry is French, the curator of La Galerie Nationale (not far from the Khaleej Times office). He says the newspapers, for several decades now, have been like his breakfast. He wakes up to a glorious cup, often two, of Baccarat coffee (his wife's Italian) and the papers (always the Sport section first, results of soccer matches ). He reads Khaleej Times online as well, except on Fridays when he has time to go down to the supermarkets to pick up the papers, Waitrose or Union Coop. Cuiry doesn't read on the mobile - in part attributed to owning a restrictive Nokia phone, which is up for being traded in one of these days. So here's how it goes. Cuiry opens bookmarked websites on his laptop in a predetermined order. Sports, local news, Europe, then US news, and don't get him started on Trump.
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It's important for Cuiry to get news from all sources - not only from social media or from any one paper or one region. "I'm not a communist, but I read the communist papers. I'm not an ultra capitalist, but I read those papers, too." He talks of being wary of one single truth, and how he's taught his kids to doubt, "to always doubt, and investigate another truth." But what's this about being wary of social media? Not wary, he says, but it's important to not restrict yourself to the people who are on your friends' list, because those people, he says, probably think not too differently from you. And there's a risk there. Of course, it's not that social media never gets it right, or there is never a truth in the say, five articles that are being shared and re-shared. "The first social media was the telegram and the telephone. In the '80s and '90s, he says, "You received the paper one day late, or two days late. When you received it, you could still brush up on all the news." Now, he says, with the millions of pieces of news everyday, two days is a huge gap between, to not consume news.
Is he on Twitter? He blows a raspberry and gestures as if to swat a fly. "Twitter is too much." He says, "I'm the old generation. I like books. I like paper."
Why does he like Khaleej Times? For the local content: it's earthy, a good mix. What would he like to see more of in Khaleej Times? "More business news, more GCC news, more art news, and not only when there is an event or a fair". He doesn't want to read pieces only on the contemporary art market. "Everyone supposes art is only contemporary, and only paintings. But you cannot understand contemporary art till you understand modern art. And you can't understand modern art till you understand art."
We digress from newspapers to art. Newspapers are important. So is art. He pauses. But the thought of the Syrian kids killed in the chemical attacks bring a flash of anger to his face. It makes him extend his point and add a wider perspective. "Art is important but also not important. What's important is to have a roof over your head and a wall. Not so much a painting to hang on that wall." But then what's the soul going to feed on? Topics flit, we move on. Art is essential ("an element for your soul") and also inessential (if you begin prioritising the need for safety and food). "The only point of life, he says, is to love and be loved". He goes back to his jocular self, jokes of himself as an Epicurean. "I love life, I love my family. I love my friends. I love my wife - the second one." He says he has this huge problem in life, that smile again: "I'm happy everywhere, with everyone."

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