Art Abu Dhabi Louvre, Guggenheim collection, Dubai

United Arab Emirates

Art Dubai grows wise in a maturing market

Bold installations sell to ideas-driven regional collectors

Published online: 24 March 2015

Work on Louvre Abu Dhabi goes into overdrive

Official opening date probably in 2016 as thousands of workers drafted in to complete the vast building

Published online: 04 March 2015

Sharjah Biennial’s 12th edition casts a utopian gaze across the city

Off-the-beaten-track spaces house new site-specific works

Published online: 04 March 2015

Artists’ subtle critique of power opens at New York University’s Abu Dhabi outpost

The collective Slavs and Tatars ends a three-month residency at Saadiyat Island with an exhibition on princely grooming

Published online: 28 February 2015

Technology’s impact on the arts to be debated in the Gulf

Global Art Forum announces line-up for its ninth edition next month

Published online: 23 February 2015

UAE announces group show with 14 artists for its Venice pavilion

Some will also be participating in the Sharjah Biennial

Published online: 27 January 2015

Abu Dhabi’s wish-list from the British Museum grows

Loans could number several hundred and go to the Gulf for extended stays

Published online: 20 January 2015

Sneak a peek at the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s collection

Exhibition opening this week sheds light on the museum’s acquisitions and curatorial framework

Published online: 05 November 2014

French museums offer top loans to Louvre Abu Dhabi

Eclectic selection of 300 works from 13 institutions was chosen to tell a “universal narrative”

Published online: 14 October 2014

Portrait by Leonardo da Vinci among inaugural loans to Louvre Abu Dhabi

First 300 works to travel from France to the Gulf’s “universal” museum announced

Published online: 12 October 2014

Sneak a peek at the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s collection

Exhibition opening this week sheds light on the museum’s acquisitions and curatorial framework

Angela Bulloch, 6 Chains: Permutation B (52:4-White), 2002. Photo: Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

How the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, scheduled to open on Saadiyat Island in 2017, will fill its overall 860,000 sq. ft space has been a subject of speculation in recent years. An exhibition opening this month gives a glimpse not only of some of the works acquired for the collection, but also the mega-museum’s proposed curatorial framework.

“Seeing Through Light” features 18 works from the 1960s to today by Middle Eastern and international artists such as Angela Bulloch, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Bharti Kher, Yayoi Kusama and Rachid Koraïchi. “The works on show focus on a single theme, telling the history and story of light and its significance in modern aesthetics and in relation to everyday-life,” says Maisa Al Qassimi, the programmes manager at Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

The show has five sections —“Activated”, “Celestial”, “Perceptual”, “Reflected” and “Transcendent”—and includes 16 acquisitions and two works lent by its partner institution, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. These are Dan Flavin’s Untitled (to Jan and Ron Greenberg), 1972-73, and Larry Bell’s 20” Untitled 1969 (Tom Messer Cube), 1969.

Al Qassimi says that the show is a forerunner for the thematic presentation of the collection in the future museum. “We will display the works according to their aesthetic value, in reference to the narrative of the museum where each gallery will explore a distinct artistic concept,” she says. The theme of light may be explored further as a curatorial conceit in the new museum, which will have a focus on a “transnational narrative” across cultures and continents.

“Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will invite artists to produce site-specific commissions for dedicated galleries, select exterior locations, and the iconic scaled cones that encircle the museum,” Al Qassimi says. The sheer size of the new Frank Gehry-designed building no doubt lends itself to large-scale commissions (this strategy may prove useful for filling any gaps in the collection, as well as the vast physical space). Al Qassimi declined to give details about the annual acquisition budget.

Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi, 5 November-19 January 2015

French museums offer top loans to Louvre Abu Dhabi

Eclectic selection of 300 works from 13 institutions was chosen to tell a “universal narrative”

David’s portrait of Napoleon is heading to Abu Dhabi. napoleon: © RMN (Château de Versailles) F. Raux

France’s leading museums will lend some of their most famous works to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is due to open at the end of next year. Around 300 works will be lent, ranging from Leonardo’s Portrait of an Unknown Woman (also known as La Belle Ferronnière), around 1495, from the Louvre in Paris, to Warhol’s Big Electric Chair, 1967-68, from the Centre Pompidou. The eclectic selection also includes an ancient stone mask from Mexico that once belonged to André Breton, on loan from the Musée du Quai Branly, as well as works by Monet, Matisse and Richter.

The first batch of works being lent by 13 French institutions to the Jean Nouvel-designed museum has been selected by TCA Abu Dhabi, Agence France-Muséums and the individual museums.

Jean-François Charnier, the curatorial director of Agence France-Muséums, tells The Art Newspaper that the works have been chosen to tell a “universal narrative”. Works from France and those in the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection will be displayed to create a dialogue between different civilisations and artistic traditions “from pre-history to the 21st century”, he says. Hissa Al Dhaheri, the programmes manager of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, says that only in Abu Dhabi will such different works be shown in the same space.

Political power in the modern age will be represented by Jacques-Louis David’s equestrian portrait Napoleon Crossing the Alps, 1803, from Versailles, which will hang near a portrait of George Washington from the Gulf museum’s collection. Works will be on loan for between three months and two years.

Fleur Pellerin, France’s new minister of culture and communication, said in a statement that the selection of “these masterpieces” represents “a major step in this great project”.

Under the terms of the 30-year agreement made between the United Arab Emirates and France in 2007, the number of loans will decrease as the Gulf museum’s collection grows. It has acquired around 500 works so far, ranging from a 3,000-year-old bracelet made in Iran to nine paintings by Cy Twombly.

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