Abu Dhabi Art to Showcase Future of Gulf Museums

Manarat Al Saadiyat, where Abu Dahbi Art will be hosted
The Manarat Al Saadiyat center, where Abu Dahbi Art will be hosted. Photo: Courtesy of TDIC

The sixth edition of Abu Dhabi Art, the annual art fair organized by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, will take place November 5–8. In addition to hosting work from modern and contemporary galleries from around the world, programming will include talks and performances, and an early look at works from the permanent collection of the controversial future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (see “Artist Sneaks Into Future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Site to Interview Workers” and “Guggenheim Protesters Make It Rain in Frank Lloyd Wright Rotunda“).

As the Louvre’s Middle Eastern outpost looks ahead to its grand opening (see “Da Vinci, Monet, and Manet for Louvre Abu Dhabi” and “Louvre Abu Dhabi Collection Makes First International Outing in Paris“), the museum has organized a series of talks about how artists and art institutions can engage with wider audiences. Panelists will include architect Jean Nouvel, visual artist Ernesto Neto, and Vincent Pomarede, director of the Louvre Painting Department.

Visitors hoping for a preview of the long-awaited Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be treated to an 18-work selection from the new collection, accompanied by talks with Angela Bulloch, Rachid Koraichi, and Shirazeh Houshiary, all of whom are featured in the exhibition. It will be interesting if the subject of the construction of the two western art institutions in the region will be brought up, especially considering that Abu Dhabi Art promotes itself on its website as a fair that “celebrates the cultural diversity of the UAE and the region.”

This year’s performance programs are titled Hours and Colours and Durub Al Tawaya. Inspired by a 14th century French Gothic manuscript, the interactive performance series Hours and Colours will include musician Patti Smith in a work called Killer RoadDurub Al Tawaya, a series of performance and art installations throughout the city that will be linked by bus, will examine the themes and dramatic structure of Hayy Bin Yaqzan, a book that is considered the first Arabic novel, written in the 12th century by philosopher Ibn Tufail. The program includes poetry, experimental theater, and “Paper Music,” a concert with William Kentridge and musician Phillip Miller.

The fair has also installed public art throughout the city and Saadiyat Island. Collectively called “Beyond,” the program features works by Francois Morellet, Subodh Gupta, Mohammed Kazem, Shilpa Gupta, Sahand Hesamiyan, and Ai WeiWei.


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