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2012 Abu Dhabi Art Fair: 'More than an art fair'

Fourth annual Abu Dhabi Art Fair, slated from 7 to 10 November, will provide a platform for modern and contemporary artwork from the Middle East and beyond

Ahram Online, Monday 5 Nov 2012
Ali Banisadr, We Haven’t Landed On Earth Yet, 2012
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Global modern and contemporary art will come to Dubai's Saadiyat Cultural District from 7 to 10 November for the fourth annual Abu Dhabi Art Fair. The event's organisers stress that, this year, the event promises to be "much more than an art fair."

In 2011, the art fair drew 17,000 visitors to the emirate and featured artwork by some 500 artists. This year, a wide range of globally renowned art galleries will participate, yielding a diverse event featuring 20th and 21st century visual art, along with contemporary sculptures and installations.

The artwork presented at the fair will not be limited to popular modern artistic personalities, but will also include artwork by up-and-coming Middle Eastern artists.

For Art Abu Dhabi 2012, approximately 50 international galleries – from New York to Turkey to Dubai – will bring diverse artwork to the Saadiyat Cultural District, which is the designated location for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

The Dubai-based Artspace will debut a collection at the Art Fair entitled 'Al-Bidaya,' featuring work by modern Egyptian artist Omar El-Nagdi and other Arab artists who delve into the themes of Islamic art and calligraphy.

Works by Egyptian artist Wael Shawky will also be showcased at the event, alongside global contemporaries Kader Attia and Robert Rauschenberg, among others.

Artwork at the Abu Dhabi fair will be supplemented with an extensive line-up of performances, art talks and workshops.

Among the fair's most intriguing art talks will be a panel entitled, 'Where is the Centre? Searching for the Crossroads of the Art World' (7 November), and 'Our Responsibilities: Supporting Art in the Presence and Absence of Cultural Institutions' (10 November).

Also worth mentioning is the Abu Dhabi Art Conversations, which will be held in lieu of the exhibitions. Most notable are the sessions featuring pioneering performance artist Marina Abramovic and world-renowned sculptor Anish Kapoor.

Distinguished architects Frank Gehry and Norman Foster will also take part in a panel discussion about the 'vision and architecture' of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

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