Abu Dhabi Art 2010

As captured by my iPhone camera…

Damascus Gate by the famed, Frank Stella (the four panel piece in the back) fetched $5 million (Dh18.4 million).

Nick Hackworth, owner of the gallery Paradise Row in London (far right) was pretty interesting guy to talk to.

He chose some really crazy pieces to bring to the show. he made the right choices because he managed to sell to some local collectors.

One of my favourite calligraphy installations — some serious Persian talent.

Jeff Koons (who I chatted with, no biggie), Picasso, Matise, Damien Hirst, Frank Stella, Cezane, Loredana Mantello, Jamal Abdulrahim, Fredrico Uribe, Warhol, Woll, Raschenberg, Ruscha, Twombly, Serra……… Plus more.

We all wanted to bear witness and be part of the birth of the contemporary art scene in the emirate. Hundreds of dealers, collectors, art/fashion/design students, journalists and art enthusiasts descended on the Emirates Palace for the four-day exhibition that displayed contemporary art from all over the world (especially, of course, many Middle Eastern artists).

Well-known galleries from New York, Beijing, London, Paris, Dubai, Morocco, Tunisa, Tehran, Muscat, Beirut, Damascus brought pieces in the hopes that they’d be snatched up — and many of them were.

I went for the last day and it was one of the most refreshing days I’ve had since moving to the Arabian Peninsula.¬† Fascinating, stylish, friendly and challenging characters all there for the same reason — art. People strolled from gallery to gallery, stopping to talk with the artist or the gallery owner, debating each other about what they liked or disliked about a particular piece — arguing in English, French, Arabic, Farsi and sometimes a mix.

The grounds featured installations (like the top photo) so if you had enough walking through the exhibits inside, you could head outside. The Emirates Palace’s estate, which is situated right on the beach was a perfect venue — all day long there was a nice cool breeze to cut through the warmth of the sun. Perfect day in the Gulf.


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