It’s time for the art junkies of the UAE to get their annual fix of world-class paintings, sculptures and photography (or, in the case of Tracey Emin’s work, scribbled writing in neon pink lights). Art Abu Dhabi is back in town, this year housed at the UAE Pavilion beside Manarat Al Saadiyat, about an hour and a half’s drive from Dubai. This iconic venue (pictured right) was designed by Foster + Partners and built originally for display at Shanghai’s 2010 World Expo, showcasing exhibitions that highlight the history of the UAE.
Now it’s on home soil: from November 16-19, it will contain works from artists as diverse as Jeff Koons, Hassan Sharif and Anish Kapoor.
The galleries to watch
Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont
This Parisian gallery specialises in primary-market contemporary art and represents renowned international artists. It was the first to exhibit Jeff Koons in a solo show in 1997. Koons’ ‘Split Rocker’ (pictured above) will be on display at ADA.
The Third Line
Dubai’s Third Line Gallery supports the work of artists based in the Middle East, and will be transporting works by Youssef Nabil (pictured right) to the capital for this year’s event. The Egyptian artist combines photos and painting to great effect.
Manarat al Saadiyat’s first ever exhibition, held last year, was a series of pieces by Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly and others from the personal collection of influential art dealer Larry Gagosian. Since then Abu Dhabi has a special place in its heart for the Gagosian Gallery, and we’re looking forward to seeing plenty more groundbreaking pieces.
Founded in 1979 in London, October Gallery played a pioneering role in the promotion of contemporary art from all around the world and will be showcasing some of Japanese artist Kenji Yoshida’s abstract paintings.
Tracey Emin’s bold neon scrawl, reading ‘Love is what you want’, will be on loan from White Cube in London, making an edgy, vibrant addition to the exhibition this year.
Salwa Zaidan Gallery
One of Abu Dhabi’s own best-loved galleries, Salwa Zaidan showcases inspirational works from both Middle Eastern and international artists. Thought-provoking photography from Saudi princess Reem al Faisal will be on display, including evocative piece ‘Proof of Islam’.
Tony Shafrazi Gallery
Irreverent pieces by inimitable US street-inspired artist Keith Haring have made their way to Abu Dhabi from New York’s Tony Shafrazi Gallery. Look out for Haring’s bold and wacky paintings using characters such as Mickey Mouse.
Leila Heller Gallery
For Abu Dhabi Art 2011, Leila Heller Gallery will exhibit an individually crafted table by accomplished German artist and designer Rolf Sachs. In his ‘On the Pulse – Carbonised Table’, Sachs injects this typical piece of furniture with life. The tabletop is filled with carbonised black oil, and becomes animated through the ripple effects of a ‘mechanical heartbeat’ that is transmitted onto the oil surface, recreating the rhythmic beat of a human heart. As a result, the usually static piece of furniture comes alive, surprising and awakening the viewer’s senses.
Abu Dhabi Art Conversations
Jeff Koons and Larry Gagosian: Visitors will hear from US artist Koons, famed for his reproductions of balloon animals, and gallery owner Gagosian, who represents artists including Damien Hirst.
November 17, 2pm, Manarat Al Saadiyat Theatre
Workshop: Saadiyat Seascape
Inspired by the surrounding seascape of Saadiyat Island, participants will learn a simple and effective process for painting the seascape onto canvas. No previous art experience necessary. Prior registration is required.
November 17, 5.30pm, Manarat Al Saadiyat.
Book launch: Art in Iraq Today
This publication brings together a group of Iraqi artists who are united in their experience of exile.
November 17, 6pm, Abu Dhabi Art Lounge, Manarat Al Saadiyat.
Admission to Abu Dhabi Art is free; workshop tickets are Dhs50. Thejamjar will be organising a daily ArtBus to take Dubai residents to the event (Dhs50 per person, 04 341 7303). For info on Abu Dhabi Art, call 02 657 5800 or see www.abudhabiartfair.ae.