Abu Dhabi brings art-world leaders together

Published November 11th, 2009 - 10:38 GMT

The exhibition The Guggenheim: The Making of a Museum (on view at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi 17 November 2009 - 4 February 2010) will offer audiences in the Emirates and the region an unprecedented experience of great art of the 20th century—and to enliven that experience, the public programs designed for the exhibition will be equally exceptional. Outstanding museum leaders, artists, gallerists, collectors and educators will engage the public in conversations, lectures, workshops, tours and more, through programs presented by the Cultural Department of Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) and organized in partnership with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and other collaborating institutions.

The first exhibition in the region of masterworks from the legendary collection of New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, as well as the first exhibition presented under the auspices of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum (now under development on Saadiyat Island), The Guggenheim: The Making of a Museum will feature more than fifty masterful paintings, representing the work of more than forty of the most prominent artists of the twentieth century. The exhibition, with its accompanying public programs, is opening at the same time as Abu Dhabi celebrates the inauguration of Abu Dhabi Art, its major new annual platform for modern and contemporary art.

The public programs, which begin with a high-level panel discussion on 20 November, will illuminate both the works in the exhibition and a range of ideas and themes associated with them. Topics that will be addressed include the role of private art collectors in forming new institutions; the development of the Guggenheim Museum (and, looking ahead, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum); the meaning of abstract art in the context of the Arab world; and abstraction in film and video art.

“These programs are an integral part of the experience of The Guggenheim: The Making of a Museum,” stated Mubarak Al Muhairi, Managing Director of TDIC. “They serve to advance the cultural dialogue within Abu Dhabi, as well as the dialogue between Abu Dhabi and the rest of the world - and in a parallel manner express TDIC’s aspiration of welcoming the world to the UAE capital in a spirit of mutual respect and open exchange. We believe there is something in this schedule of programs for everyone, to encourage fresh thinking and to open new ways of seeing the art in the Guggenheim collection.”

Program participants will include Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum; celebrated British art patron Anthony d’Offay; prominent US art collectors Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson; Bruce Altshuler, Director of the Program in Museum Studies, New York University; Manal Ataya, Director-General of the Sharjah Museums Department; John G. Hanhardt, Curator, Nam Jun Paik Archive and Consulting Curator of Film and Media Arts, Smithsonian Museum of American Art; Dr. Nasser Rabbat, Aga Khan Professor of the History of Islamic Architecture and Director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, MIT; artists Ebtisam Abdul Aziz, Dia Al-Azzawi, Kamal Boullata, and Samia Halaby; and Guggenheim curators Susan Davidson, Valerie Hillings, and Karole Vail. A special series of four-week workshops will be offered especially for children and families.

All programs take place in Gallery One of Emirates Palace, are free of charge and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. 

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