The 10th edition of the capital’s art fair is small but perfectly formed.
Now in its 10th edition, Abu Dhabi Art is a boutique art fair in terms of size – with considerably less galleries in attendance than the fair in Dubai and other big cities – but that makes for a more manageable experience, helping visitors to take in the full range of what’s on show.
With world-renowned galleries alongside leading spaces from the Middle East, the fair is a platform for supporting established artists and nurturing emerging ones.
This year, under the directorship of Dyala Nusseibeh, the programme is curated and designed by leading figures in the regional art world so that outside of the commercial halls, there will be a host of exhibitions, workshops, and public events for everyone to enjoy.
Here’s everything you need to know about Abu Dhabi Art…
Los Angeles gallery Kayne Griffin Corcoran will be making its Middle East debut, with a stunning solo by American artist James Turrell. Spruth Magers, which has spaces in LA, Berlin, and London, will present abstract photographs by German artist Thomas Ruff, and a special installation by American artist Jenny Holzer – whose permanent sculpture stands in the ground of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Under the guidance of their mentor, Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim, three young and talented artists – Ahmed Saeed Al Areef Al Dhaheri, Dhabiya Alrumaithi, and Taqwa Alnaqbi – have created works for an exhibition in Manarat Al Saadiyat, which will stay on view for an additional two months after Abu Dhabi Art.
This forum presents a series of talks on the topic of the regional art market. Topics include the rise of neoliberal economies in the Gulf, the rise of auction houses and the circulation of art in emerging markets and conflict regions.
A nominated guest curator curates this exhibition every year. This year, Hammad Nasar has gathered artworks that explore the built environment and language as structures through which meaning accumulates. It is titled Structures of Meaning – Architectures of Perception and will remain on display for an additional two months after the November dates.
In a special section of the fair in Al Ain, large-scale sculptures and installations will be installed in the oasis of the desert city. These include three commissions by established contemporary artists Moataz Nasr from Egypt, Ammar Al Attar from the UAE, and Imran Qureshi from Pakistan.
The fair’s performance art platform Durub Al-Tawaya, curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh, will take place in different locations throughout the city from November until January with a focus on technology.
The vernissage – which is the normally private evening that happens on the eve of the fair – is open to the public this year in order to celebrate the 10th year anniversary. It will feature DJs, special performances and canapes. Tickets are available online.
Vernissage: Abu Dhabi Art Celebrates 10 Years, November 14 from 6pm, Dhs100. abudhabiart.ae
1. Wear flats. The fair is spread across the three large halls of the Manarat Al Saadiyat and an outdoor area, so you will be doing a lot of walking.
2. Stay hydrated. Although the November weather is usually favourable, a day’s art viewing is thirsty work. Take a bottle of water and be sure to refuel at the fair’s onsite cafe.
3. Don’t be shy. Gallerists are more than happy to answer questions. Don’t feel put off by hefty price tags or fear of sounding ignorant. Art fairs are for learning about artists and the gallerists are founts of information.
4. Take pictures. If you feel overwhelmed by the amount there is to take in, pull out your phone, take a snap of the art and its label, and look it up when you get home.
Abu Dhabi Art, Saadiyat Cultural District, November 14 to 17, 2pm to 9pm. abudhabiart.ae