A pink taxi

A pink taxi

November 4, 2010

Art Abu Dhabi: A Vignette

Art Abu Dhabi is always a must see. It is worth the drive from Dubai. Purely for the love of art.

There are so many reasons to go to Art Abu Dhabi. To see an enormous Frank Stella piece of numerous targets. To notice Julian Opie's latest work. To catch a glimpse of a Matisse. To discover the Basquiat works that I had not seen at the retrospective in Basel this summer that I visited. To admire large photographic works.

White Cube Gallery (London) has a mini exhibit of Damien Hirst. For those who missed the Damien Hirst Monaco exhibit at the Oceanography Museum this summer, a small precious selection of pieces has traveled to Abu Dhabi and they are for sale. The medicine cabinet, fish swimming in formeldahyde, the signature polka dots, the bewildering collection of diamonds set on shelves and the poetic butterfly wings caught in a large oval frame, my favorite!

We stumbled upon an immense Anish Kapoor. I got dizzy looking into the mirrored convex structure. That unsettling feeling is precisely what Kapoor aims for. It is going for a million pounds at Kamel Mennour Gallery (Paris)! I was entirely satisfied that such an approachable and professional gallerist as Mennour is exhibiting Kapoor. Buying from him becomes a personal experience. I particularly like his artist Djmel Tatah, who he often brings to the Dubai Fair.

To crown the fair, under the dome of Emirates Palace, is a large white box. Enter a white world so different from the gold of the hotel, and in the cloudy density of light, discover the juxtaposition of abstract canvases by Daniel Buren, many of them parallel vertical lines, with Alberto Giacometti's statues, many self portraits. The collection is curated by Kamel Mennour.

Here mentioned were my chosen favorites. I walked through an amalgam of other galleries, noticing that many had selected their pieces or had even commissioned the artists to paint for the Abu Dhabi market: desertscapes, allusions to veils and dates and bedouin culture.  But I wasmost enchanted with the striking galleries that chose a different approach: to import their best pieces. A privilege for us to see!


  1. It was our annual pilgrimage to the Capital,that coincides with the annual Art Fair.Driving from Dubai through the new highway that intersects the gigantic Yas Island project that includes the F1 race track and the Ferrari park,a unique zillion investment,that glistens in red from afar!The entrance to the city through the Port junction can be confusing,but is still the short cut to connect with the scenic Corniche of Abu Dhabi.When you enter the Gaudiesque Palace Hotel grounds which was inspired by Delhi's Red Fort architecture,you feel you are in Sindbad land.
    The first day of the fair is for the diplomatic corp that is based in Abu Dhabi,and for the Sheiks from Abu Dhabi who inaugerate the yearly venue,and encourage the art trend before the opening of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums,a gigantic investment in attracting people to the city in the near future,and a sign of awareness of how important art has become in the UAE!