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Art Dubai Wraps Up Fifth Edition of Art Fair with Strong Sales & Record Attendance
A security man (L) is reflected in an artwork, entitled La Favorite Dechue, by Morrocan artist Majida Khattari during the official opening of the Art Dubai exhibition, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. EPA/ALI HAIDER.
TEL AVIV.- The largest and most diverse edition to date, Art Dubai experienced strong sales during its 2011 presentation from 16-19 March and attracted more than 20,000 guests, with a 30 percent increase in international visitors. Underscoring its role as a vital cultural meeting point connecting the Middle East and Asia with the rest of the world, Art Dubai 2011 was attended by curators, collectors, gallerists, artists, museum directors and more than 60 museum groups.

Of the 81 participating galleries, the majority experienced strong sales from the outset with major purchases from international and regional institutions in addition to established and first-time collectors from the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the United States. A number of participating galleries, including Chatterjee & Lal and Chemould Prescott Road (Mumbai), BISCHOFF/WEISS (London), Kalfayan Galleries (Athens /Thessaloniki), Sutton Gallery (Melbourne), Mah Art Gallery (Tehran), AB Gallery (Lucerne/Zurich), Grey Noise (Lahore), Gandhara-art (Hong Kong/Karachi), Pilar Corrias (London), Dirimart (Istanbul), Priska C. Juschka Fine Art (New York) and GALLERY ISABELLE VAN DEN EYNDE (Dubai) among others sold most of their available works at the fair.

“Spring 2011 marks a shift in the cultural life of the Gulf,” said Fair Director Antonia Carver, who is in her inaugural year leading Art Dubai. “Never before has there been such a level of international interest in the arts scenes of the MENASA or such a level of regional support for artists and their projects. Galleries at Art Dubai 2011 reported strong sales and the fair offered an unprecedented level of innovative artists’ projects and educational events, which we feel are part of what makes this fair unique.”

Exhibitors offered positive reports of their experience at the fair, including:

“Art Dubai has been really successful for us,” said Paola Weiss of BISCHOFF/WEISS (London). “I’ve noticed that there is now a solid Middle Eastern collector base, which has grown immensely over the past two years and now stands out to me. In general people seem more interested in collecting. Furthermore, arts patronage has really started to show.”

“We’ve had a great experience here,” said Adrian Turner, Senior Director, Marianne Boesky Gallery (New York). “Everyone seems very warm and inviting and we’ve accomplished more than we’d hoped. We’re coming back.”

“I had a great experience here at Art Dubai and really met a lot of people who are very interested in our work,” said Sappho Ma, Gallery Director, Connoisseur Contemporary (Hong Kong). “And equally important—the fair was satisfying as a human experience; great people, great parties and a great spirit.”

“Despite showing an artist with a proven track record in the region, we were overwhelmed by response both in terms of critical reception and sales,” said Mortimer Chatterjee of Chatterjee & Lal (Mumbai).

This year also saw particularly strong attendance from the more than 400 exhibited artists representing 57 countries, including Diana Al-Hadid, Liu Ding, Shezad Dawood, Hrair Sarkissian, Raafat Ishak, Slavs and Tatars, Timo Nasseri, Oraib Toukan, Wafaa Bilal, Sebastian Lütgert, Farhad Moshiri, Charlie Koolhaas, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Kamrooz Aram, Nabil Nahas, Abhishek Hazra, Kader Attia, Walid Raad and Nadia Kaabi-Linke.

Coinciding with Sharjah Biennial 10, the fifth edition of Art Dubai was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Her Royal Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum hosted Ladies Day at Art Dubai.

The international art world turned out to Art Dubai 2011 in record numbers, including museum groups and representatives from Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (Qatar), Qatar Museums Authority, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation (New York), MoMA (New York), Tate Modern (London), Hong Kong Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Sotheby’s Institute, Performa (New York), and Cartier Foundation (Paris).

In addition to exploring a range of galleries from 34 countries, guests of Art Dubai witnessed engaging conversations through the Global Art Forum and other panel programmes, with speakers including Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Exhibitions and Programmes, and Director of International Projects, Serpentine Gallery; Rashid Rana, artist; Germano Celant, Director, Fondazione Prada; Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Founder, Barjeel Art Foundation; Wassan Al Khudhairi, Director, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art; and Vasif Kortun, Director of Research and Programs, SALT, and Curator, UAE Pavilion for the Venice Biennale 2011. In its fifth year, the Forum developed through a partnership between Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar, Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (ADACH), Ministry of Culture, Kingdom of Bahrain, and was the most collaborative yet. The first day of the Forum took place in Doha, and Mathaf and ADACH hosted events at the fair to capacity audiences. Alongside the Forum, this year launched a series of talks titled On Collecting and a series of practical workshops for the local arts community, which included speakers such as Ziba Ardalan, Founder and Director, Parasol Unit; Linda Komaroff, Curator of Islamic Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); and collectors Susan and Michael Hort.

Art Dubai Live, a new ongoing initiative, launched on 19 March at www.artdubailive.ae. All galleries’ booths are represented on the site with interviews filmed throughout the fair. Visitors to the site can also watch footage of the programmes that took place during this year’s physical fair, as well as those in the past.





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