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Abu Dhabi Art 2012 closes with unprecedented number of visitors

Abu Dhabi: The fourth edition of Abu Dhabi Art, which concluded recently, brought together 50 of the world’s top galleries, notable cultural icons, collectors and visitors from across the globe, and firmly established Saadiyat Island and Abu Dhabi’s legacy as the cultural destination of the future.

The unprecedented level of interest and dedication to Abu Dhabi’s museum ambitions reached an all-time high with the week’s most anticipated attraction, a panel discussion titled Architecture Visionaries, featuring the world’s top three architects – Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Lord Norman Foster – discussing the Saadiyat Cultural District museums – Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Zayed National Museum – to a packed standing-room- only audience of approximately 1,000 people.

In another noteworthy panel featuring Richard Armstrong, Director of Solomon R Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi revealed a selection of works already acquired, including a major sculpture by Algerian Rachid Koraichi, a work by Jacques Villegle and a sculpture by Subodh Gupta. Not surprising that during Abu Dhabi Art, two of Koraichi’s works were sold in the modern and contemporary galleries section: La Memoire d’un ange and La Memoire d’un ange II.

Modern masters were well appreciated at Abu Dhabi Art and sale highlights included Fateh Moudarres’ Untitled from Meem Gallery and Shaker Hassan Al Said’s Untitled from Agial Gallery. Thaddaeus Ropac’s curated booth showing two artists sold works by Farhad Moshiri – Woman on the Verge and Pill.

A huge demand was seen for contemporary artists with sales of: Subodh Gupta’s Cascading Water from Hauser ‘&’ Wirth; Anish Kapoor’s Untitled 2012 and Marina Abramovic’s REST ENERGY, both from Lisson Gallery; an untitled work by Keith Haring from Galerie Enrico Navarra; as well as Lee Ufan’s Dialogue from Kamel Mennour Gallery.

Fang Lijung’s 2011-2010 from Hanart TZ Gallery was one of many sales representing the interest in Abu Dhabi for top Asian works. UAE artists Najat Makki and Abdul Qadar Al Rais sold several works at Hunar Gallery, as did EOA Project’s Abdulnasser Gharem.

Etel Adnan’s Homage to Ink Pot (shown in Documenta) from Galerie SFEIR-SEMLER was snapped up during the fair, as were works by Galerie Janine Rubeiz’s Mazen Kherbaj, who featured in the DON’T FEED THE ARTIST installation from the fair’s Signature section.
Other sales included a Roy Lichtenstein work shown by Edward Tyler Nahem, Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin at Ota Fine Arts and Fabrice Hyber’s Nuancier/verts (an artist also showcased in Abu Dhabi Art’s Arts, Talks ‘&’ Sensations exhibition that will run until 6 January) shown by Jerome de Noirmont. Galleria Continua’s artwork by Moataz Nasr Eqra also found a buyer at Abu Dhabi Art.

A central point of attraction for thousands of Abu Dhabi Art visitors was Tadashi Kawamata’s Chairs for Abu Dhabi, an installation of hundreds of stacked chairs and part of the Beyond section of the fair (known for its display of large-scale works), which were sold.

Abu Dhabi Art was officially opened by H. H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, the Supreme Chairperson of Family Development Foundation and Chairwoman of the Supreme Council of Motherhood ‘&’ Childhood and H. H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice-Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and National Security Advisor in the presence of many other dignitaries.