Art Bus to the Abu Dhabi Art Fair

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Mounir Fatmi “The Machinery” 2009

Elizabeth and I went to the preview opening of the Abu Dhabi Art Fair at the invitation of thejamjar gallery. It was an amazing evening of VIP atmosphere and gorgeous weather. The only problem is that as we boarded the Art Bus, we realized that we had forgotten the camera. It is such a shame because the entire night was so photographic. Oh well. The only real VIP we spotted (after Marcello pointed him out to us) was Jean Nouvel as he inspected a large silver painted contoured wire frame gorilla.

We saw some great classic pieces among the contemporary mix. There were entire rooms devoted to Miro and to Calder for example. Of course the YBAs were prominently displayed. And there were a lot of interesting works by contemporary Arab artists like the one above by Mounir Fatmi. The verses on the blades are from the Qu’ran and Hadiths on the subjects of God and Beauty.

The galleries area opened up onto the expansive beach side plaza of the Emirates Palace Hotel where large installations continued including one by Calder. That was where you could grab your hors d’ouvres and a glass of wine or beer as they were carried around by the catering staff. The staff with the wine came around randomly and not quite frequently enough so that they were often being slowly chased by interested persons which had a sort of comic effect.

At the beach there was a pavilion set up with an outdoor majlis with a gentle breeze where most everyone ended up, sitting smoking shisha, chatting and gazing out into the pristine waters of the gulf where a large Arabic typographic installation piece was set up 20 meters out into the dark blue water.