The exterior of the Norman Foster designed pavilion where Art Abu Dhabi is hosted this year.

 

ABU DHABI - The VIP opening of Art Abu Dhabi was followed by another elegant dinner, this time co-hosted by key socialite Paula Al Askari and gallerist Tina Keng. At the ultra-chic Monte-Carlo Beach Club Saadiyat, the dinner brought together collectors, museum personalities, artists and architects. Richard Armstrong gave a welcome speech, expressing his admiration for the Fair.

At the opening, it was hard to see the art as well as I would have liked due to the crowds, but a stunning Bharti Kher sold almost instantly (she will be in conversation with Subodh Gupta tomorrow), and a beautiful embroidery work by Ghada Amer tugged at many heartstrings; a large Shirazeh Houshiary at Lisson from the same series as we saw at Frieze caught the eye, and a Kusama pumpkin sculpture dominated its space. Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri has clearly been busy producing some stunning work - the black-and-white being my favorite.

Buyers are spoiled for choice. They may find a better Hirst at Basel, but nowhere else can one find such high quality of art from the Middle East and Asia. I can't wait to go back tomorrow and stroll at leisure. Abramovic has a bewitching work at Lisson, and Park Gallery's Hala Mallulahs are among the must-sees.

Stay tuned for more news as panel discussions and events promise more excitement in the days to come.

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