Ten Things Not To Miss At Abu Dhabi Art

The curtain will raise on the sixth edition of Abu Dhabi Art tonight with a grand VIP opening and tomorrow from 3pm the doors will open to the public. I’ll be co-posting on The National’s Art Blog with fellow arts writer Anna Seaman over the course of the fair. First up, here are my top ten picks:

One
Edgar Degas.
To encounter original oils on canvas by the French master of Impressionism, head to Acquavelle Galleries (booth A2)

La Conversation, Edgar Degas, 1895. Courtesy of Acquavella Galleries, Booth A2

La Conversation, Edgar Degas, 1895. Courtesy of Acquavella Galleries, Booth A2

Two
Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection
18 of the first pieces from the permanent collection of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi are on display. Lose yourself in an alternative universe as you enter Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room and wander through the painstakingly curated exhibition, which explores our scientific and spiritual relationship with time and light. A sure sign of strong things to come when the Frank Gehry-designed stunner of a museum opens its doors on Saadiyat Island in 2017.

First peak at the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection

First peak at the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection

Three
Galleries from all over the world.
It’s possible to transcend borders and visit Seoul’s Park Ryu Sook Gallery for Choi Jeong Hwa’s chrome sculptures, New York’s Paul Kasmin gallery to take in Ivan Navarro’s light installations, and then to Paris, where kamel mennour presents imposing animal sculptures by Huang Yong Ping and Lee Ufan, standing guard outside a makeshift garden of rocks. No plane ticket necessary for this trip!

Installations by Huang Yong Ping & Lee Ufan at kammel menour.

Installations by Huang Yong Ping & Lee Ufan at kammel menour.

Four

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1981 painting The Ring
In Gallery Enrico Navarra’s booth, view an original canvas by the young American artist who revolutionised New York’s street scene before an untimely early death at the age of 27.

4. The Ring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1981.

Five

Ai Wei Wei’s sculpture
Forever, an installation of stainless steel bicycles by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, adds real texture to the fair’s main atrium. The installation is a preview of the Beyond section, which will expand after the fair to display public artworks in the city of Abu Dhabi for the coming few months.

5. Forever, Ai Wewei, 2013. Lisson Gallery, booth B6. Image by Danna Lorch

Six

Hassan Hajjaj’s Artist Talk
Perhaps you know Hassan Hajjaj for his series ‘Kesh Angels, a pop ode to the female biker culture on Marrakesh’s streets? The legendary portrait photographer will deliver an Abu Dhabi Art Artist Talk titled ‘Consuming Cultures’ which promises to probe the relationship between tradition and consumerism. Thursday 15.00-15.45 in the auditorium. Email manaratalsaadiyat@tcaabudhabi.ae to register.

Helen P.J.I, Hassan Hajjaj, 2011. Courtesy of the artist and The Third Line (Booth B5)

Helen P.J.I, Hassan Hajjaj, 2011. Courtesy of the artist and The Third Line (Booth B5)

Seven

UAE artist Najat Makki’s figurative paintings at Hunar Gallery. Allow the signature dot patterns (inspired by the traditional women’s dress known as abu dagga) to transport you to another time and place. Makki was the first woman in the country to earn a scholarship to study art abroad and that longstanding passion for the canvas is evident.

Najat Makki, Acrylic on Canvas. Image courtesy of the artist and Hunar Gallery

Najat Makki, Acrylic on Canvas. Image courtesy of the artist and Hunar Gallery

Eight

Artists’ Waves
Take a break from the fair’s full-on buzz and step into a softly lit salon featuring a wall packed with works by artists who were hand-picked by curator Fabrice Bousteau. Have the chance to interact with emerging galleries including Dubai’s Gallery Ward, which focuses on contemporary Egyptian art.

The Artists' Waves section

The Artists’ Waves section

Nine

A presentation on counterfeiting in art, Fakes and Looted Art in the Middle Eastern Market. Attend this talk to learn about the challenges of authenticating works of art from the region and how to avoid common traps. Speakers include Venetia Porter, Michael Jeha, Charles Pocock and Saleh Barakat. Moderated by Georgina Adam. Saturday, 14.30-15.30 in the Auditorium. Email manaratalsaadiyat@tcaabudhabi.ae to register.

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Ten

Performance Art.
This interactive medium is still relatively new to the region and for the second year running Abu Dhabi Art demonstrates a commitment to live performance pieces that are organically part of the fair. Look out for Moussa Sarr’s Rising Carpet, a woven carpet flown by drones throughout the fair’s atrium.

Getting all dreamy with the art at the Press Preview for this year's fair. I'm dressed in an alternative abaya by UAE designer KBT KONCEPT

Getting all dreamy with the art at the Press Preview for this year’s fair. I’m dressed in an alternative abaya by UAE designer KBT KONCEPT

Good Ideas
The 6th edition of Abu Dhabi Art takes place 5-8 November, 2014 at Saadiyat Cultural District in Abu Dhabi. Admission is completely free of charge but registration is compulsory. For all the information you need to plan your visit go here

Credits: Co-posted with The National’s Art Blog