The Art Gallery Launches Retrospective Book in Celebration of its Six Year Anniversary

Press Release

The NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Art Gallery has launched a retrospective book, surveying its first six years of publications and exhibition, and including a series of new texts about exhibition-making in the context of a university, and in the UAE.

Titled The NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery: 2014-2020, the book celebrates the academic museum-gallery’s accomplishments during its founding years and looks forward to the years ahead. It also highlights the Gallery’s contributions to the UAE’s rich arts and culture scene to date, including how it has connected with diverse audiences and inspired intellectual and creative discourse through its wide-ranging exhibitions, both in the main gallery, the Project Space, and other projects.  The book  provides curatorial texts and images from each of the main gallery exhibitions, essays by curators, interviews with artists and members of the community, as well as excerpts from the Art Gallery’s published books to date. 

A foreword by H.E. Zaki Nusseibeh, Cultural Advisor to the President of the UAE; Chancellor, UAE University, reflects on the development of art in the societal advancement of the UAE, and speaks to the Art Gallery’s role in developing the nation’s art ecosystem. 

NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann discusses the importance of university museum galleries as both a place and an idea in the opening essay.

Other essays include Bana Kattan, Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, speaking on The Project Space; Emily Doherty, Award Director, on The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award; and republished works by Alistair Rider, Salwa Mikdadi, and Sam Bardaouil, among others.  The book also includes a timeline that contextualizes its annual exhibitions.


“The Gallery serves as a bridge that connects the creativity of artists and curators in the UAE to art and artists around the world. Through its Gallery programs, our university meets its local and global community on the very human ground of art."

NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann

“This book chronicles and reflects on our exhilarating project: an experiment in university exhibition-making, on Saadiyat Island, on the eve of and into the cultural boom of the last decade. We take a kaleidoscopic approach to exhibition programming: from the main gallery, dedicated to scholarly and curatorial experimentation at a museum level, to the Project Space, a kind of exhibition laboratory for emerging practices from the UAE."

Executive Director of The NYUAD Art Gallery and the University’s Chief Curator Maya Allison

Assistant Director of Publications Alaa Edris, said: “It is amazing to see this book coming to life. A resource of scholarly and creative research by a lineup of authors and contributors such as Maya Allison, Sam Bardaouil, Guido Comis, Emily Doherty, Anthony Downey, Till Fellrath, Scott Fitzgerald, Bana Kattan, Salwa Mikdadi, H.E. Zaki Nusseibeh, Alistair Rider, Beatrix Ruf, and Mariët Westermann.” 

She concludes: “The content of this book traces the history of The NYUAD Art Gallery through reflecting how one exhibition, event, and publication anticipated the next, and how each manifested the gallery’s larger mission in different ways, connecting with diverse audiences, and activating a variety of intellectual, creative, and political registers.” 

In the last six years, The NYUAD Art Gallery has overseen and produced over 100 exhibitions: 11 in the main gallery, the rest in The Project Space and across campus. Each year, a substantial book of new material was published alongside a key exhibition, with research, interviews, and art historical essays. Likewise, with each exhibition, a local artist was commissioned to illustrate the youth guide. Throughout the years, The NYUAD Art Gallery has worked with curators and artists from around the globe and from the region, from Amar Kanwar, Areej Kaoud, Sam Bardaouil, Alessandro Petti, Melissa Rachleff, and others.

The book is available for purchase on Amazon.

In the Spring of 2021 and in response to the pandemic, The NYUAD Art Gallery opened its first-ever virtual exhibition, titled not in, of, along, or relating to a line, which will be on view until July 10, 2021. The exhibition invites a new perspective on virtual and screen-based contemporary art, of particular relevance during COVID-19.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.