From March 21 to 24 the international art world heads to the UAE for the sixth annual Art Dubai fair. We mapped out a plan to make the most of the events:
Why Go: In its early iterations, Art Dubai was the event to which prestigious foreign galleries brought Picassos and other western blue chips in search of wealthy Arab buyers. Curators soon learned that regional collectors were far more interested in the contemporary art being created in the Arab world, and in artists from the Arab Gulf’s neighbors Iran, Pakistan, and India. Today, Art Dubai is a fantastic pop-up museum of modern Middle and Near Eastern culture. Works deal with themes such as gender segregation and oppression, war, religion, transforming economies, and shifting cultural identities.
What to See: This year’s event gathers 75 galleries from 32 countries, as well as 40 artists commissioned for site-specific pieces, including “Marker,” a space devoted to the emerging art of Indonesia. Don’t miss the booths of Dubai powerhouses “The Third Line” and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde; Lebanese-born and London-based arts mentor Rose Isa; and Galleria Continua, Ai Wei Wei’s representative, which is bringing work by Anish Kapoor and Egyptian artist Moataz Nasr.
Where to Stay: Art Dubai takes place at Madinat Jumeirah, a resort comprising two boutique hotels, villas, a souk, a waterpark, and 44 restaurants all lining a mile-long beach and a network of Venetian-style artificial canals. Just across the street, the Emirates Academy of Hospitality, managed by the parent Jumeiriah group, sometimes has student studios that rent for less than $100 per night (email email@example.com for availability). Five minutes away by cab, the Pullman Dubai Mall of the Emirates, a four-star business hotel, is situated on the Dubai Metro line and makes a convenient base.
How to Get Around: Dubai has more than 50 permanent art galleries, art centers, and incubator spaces that belie the emirate’s reputation as a soulless conglomeration of shopping malls, skyscrapers, and luxury hotels. The easiest way to gallery hop is by taxi (ask the driver to wait at each stop), but during Art Dubai, the cultural organization Art in the City runs three separate half-day bus tours, themed by location, to galleries around the emirate, as well as a shuttle bus between Dubai and the neighboring emirate of Sharjah, where more exhibitions, performances, lectures, and film screenings take place. Art Bus tours cost 50 Dirhams ($13.62) and can be booked online. Art in the City also publishes downloadable art maps of the UAE and posts up-to-date arts listings on its free ArtintheCity app.
What to buy: Unlike Art Abu Dhabi—which attracts the likes of Jeff Koons and galleries such as Gagosian and White Cube, all hoping to sell works to the future Abu Dhabi Louvre and Guggenheim collections—Art Dubai is pitched at individual collectors with works averaging less than $30,000. You may find something you love (and can afford) at DXB Store, the annual pop-up concept boutique, ironically named after the code for Dubai’s International airport (which has notoriously unimaginative souvenirs). It showcases artist multiples, jewelry, purses, clothing, and housewares produced locally and curated by a board of arts professors, fashionistas, and other tastemakers. This year, DXB will sell the work of more than 40 “createurs” and has three outlets at Art Dubai and the simultaneous Design Days and Sikka Art Fair.
Satellite Fairs: The Sikka Art Fair, named for the alleys of Bastikiya, a quarter of restored Iranian merchants’ windtower houses, will have nightly live music, talks, and film screenings. Design Days consists of 22 booths from emerging and established design stars from the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and South Africa set up at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Back at Madinat Jumeirah, take advantage of the daily free lectures and panels at the Global Art Forum, where artists and curators, including perennial guest speaker Hans Ulrich Obrist, debate the intersection of art, media, and culture. See the full schedule of events online.
Other exhibits: Across town, galleries take advantage of the Art Dubai magnet to stage the year’s most interesting shows and expose young artists to serious collectors. Worth seeing: “Figure Out,” a group show by 19 contemporary artists from Turkey; the Arab Spring-themed “Domination, Hegemony, and the Panopticon;” “Abaya,” a show dedicated to the Islamic female covering; “Women on the Verge,” works by female photographers from Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, the UAE, and the occupied Palestinian territories; and “Toy Story,” a solo show by Morteza Zahedi, a 33-year old Iranian illustrator and painter.
If you go, send us photographs of your favorite art pieces (email firstname.lastname@example.org), and be sure to check out Susan Hack’s other stories about the UAE and art in the Middle East:
(fUENTE: http://www.cntraveler.com/daily-traveler/2012/03/art-dubai-2012-gallery-uae y selección de Patrick from selection of María Sargent-Wayne (Facebook).