Inaugural exhibition to feature local and international contemporary art

Press Release

New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) will mark the opening of its NYUAD Art Gallery on the Saadiyat Campus on November 1 with a public reception to launch the exhibition of Emirati, regional, and international artists.

Titled On Site, the inaugural exhibition will feature paintings, photography, projection, and several large-scale installations, including Rashid Rana’s replica of a gallery room in the Tate Modern museum in London, a site-specific mural from Mary Temple’s Light Installations series, and a land-art installation by Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim. The exhibition, which will run from November 1, 2014, to January 17, 2015, will include work by six artists: Ebtisam Abdulaziz (Emirati), Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim (Emirati), Tarek Al-Ghoussein (Palestinian-Kuwaiti), Basim Magdy (Egyptian), Rashid Rana (Pakistani), and Mary Temple (American). The public is invited to the opening reception on Saturday, November 1, from 5-8pm.

Gallery Director and Chief Curator Maya Allison said that NYUAD’s location on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island serves as the inspiration for On Site, which includes artworks about landscape and the built environment. “I was reflecting on how we understand an artwork to be about a unique landscape, such as a lush garden or a desert island, and how we view a site as historic or new,” Allison said. “These questions are mirrored in NYUAD’s new Saadiyat campus, a multifaceted location that is itself garden and desert, cultural crossroads among new developments, on an island that is both a repository of significant local memories and part of the UAE’s vision for Abu Dhabi’s future.”

On Site is the first show in a multi-year program planned for the gallery, which will present curated exhibitions of art and material culture across historical and contemporary topics, with a special emphasis on subjects of both regional concern and international significance. The first few years will center on three themes: landscape and the built environment, Islamic art and culture, and art in global dialogue. The curatorial platform supports scholarly and experimental installations, artists’ projects, guest curators, and landmark exhibitions. Through focused exhibitions, events, and publications, the gallery will serve as a catalyst and locus of intellectual and creative activity, linking the University with the Abu Dhabi public and a worldwide community of artists, curators, and scholars.

Located at the main entrance to NYUAD’s Saadiyat Campus, the 664-square-meter (7,000-square-foot) gallery space features soaring double-height ceilings and an outdoor exhibition space in its courtyard. It is fully equipped for exhibitions in all media, with flexible walls and lighting offering freedom for experimental and traditional installations, from video art to ancient works.

The second exhibition will open in March 2015, premiering new work by the art collective Slavs & Tatars, alongside the launch of their book of commissioned essays, Mirrors for Princes, published by the NYUAD Art Gallery with JRP Press and edited by Anthony Downey of Ibraaz.

The NYUAD Art Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday, 11am–5pm, and Saturday, 2pm-5pm. To contact the gallery, call +971-2-628-8000, or visit the website: www.nyuad-artgallery.org.