Art Abu Dhabi this year was held in and around the impressive UAE Pavilion, designed by Foster + Partners and firstunveiled at Expo 2010 Shanghai where it was displayed for six months. Additional events took place at Manarat Al Saadiyat in Saadiyat Cultural District.
ABU DHABI – If you're lucky enough to know Abu Dhabi well, you will know that November is not just a month of velvet weather but also the pulse of the regional cultural calendar. Abu Dhabi Art has now firmly established itself as a small but beautiful fair, boasting some of the world's finest galleries. Gagosian, Hauser and Wirth, Sfeir-Semler, Enrico Navarra, Kashya Hildebrand, Thaddaeus Ropac are a few of the regulars, not to mention the best of the regional names.
Having attended every single edition of the Fair (run by the indefatiguable Rita Aoun), I've had the privilege of seeing it grow in four years from a 'start up' to a 'grown up'. Housed in its new state-of-the art Manarat Al Saadiyat location, ADA this year brings flair and exciting choices. The New York-based and Korean-owned Tina Keng Gallery is a particularly welcome addition, and an increase in Saudi galleries and artists bear testimony to the importance of these countries.
As ever, there are numerous compelling panel discussions and events planned. Kick-starting the Fair was last night's elegant dinner at Yas Island's Cipriani - graciously arranged by the Fair Host Committee and Her Highnesses Sheikha Shamsa and Sheikha Maryam. It was wonderful to see the mixture of high profile international art figures such as Jean Nouvel, Anish Kapoor, Frank Gehry, Ghada Amer, David Tang, Neil Macgregor, Richard Armstrong, Princess Ira Furstenberg, Comtesse de Beaumont, and Yassmin and Sasan Ghandehari (among others), mixing easily with the local dignitaries and social figures. His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, TDIC Managing Director and chief cultural supporter ensured that guests felt welcomed. It was hard to believe that these same dignitaries had only just recovered from the fast-paced Formula 1 races attended by the world's motor racing community - not to mention welcoming David Cameron!
Next spring, Sotheby’s will be hosting a Contemporary Art Sale in Doha and a Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Sale in London.
Bharti Kher’s work is shown at Art Abu Dhabi by Hauser and Wirth. She is in conversation with Subodh Gupta during the fair.
Raqib Shaw’s Still Life with Bush Baby II shown by Galerie Thaddeus Ropac.
Wang Huai Qing’s Self and Self Shadow on view at the Tina Keng Gallery.