The Art Gallery Opens Doors with a Landmark Collection of Paintings and Sculptures from 1960s Iran, Turkey, and India

Installation view of Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection: Works by Iranian artists Parviz Tanavoli, and Charles-Hossein Zenderoudi. Photo: John Varghese.

The exhibition opens amid a major convergence of art events on Saadiyat Island since the pandemic-closures

Press Release

The NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Art Gallery reopens to the public tomorrow, Monday, November 15, with Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection. This is the first physical exhibition in the Gallery since it moved to virtual programming in Spring of 2020, and will run through to February 5, 2022. 

Abby Weed Grey was a North American collector who made multiple trips to Iran, Turkey, and India in the 1960s and early 1970s, to collect modern art. The resulting collection is housed at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery. 

The exhibition features iconic works by some of the best-known artists from these countries, including Parviz Tanavoli, Fahrelnissa Zeid, and M.F. Husain. Presented  alongside Grey’s letters, journals, photographs, and artefacts, the exhibition reveals an unusual collector and demonstrates how these artists drew on their specific heritages while also engaging in global discourses around key issues of modernity. In doing so, the scholars and curators who developed this exhibition have expanded  the canons of modern art, beyond the well-studied areas of North America and Europe.


“We are delighted to finally re-open our doors to in-person visits, and at such an opportune time on Saadiyat Island: during Abu Dhabi Art and alongside new exhibitions at Louvre Abu Dhabi. I have been inspired by the story of Grey’s collection -- one often thinks of collecting in terms of its financial aspect, but this exhibition crystallizes, for me, the role a collector can play in the preservation and study of art, in the eventual writing of art history. Her collection has given scholars and audiences unprecedented access to a rare density of work from this period and these countries.”  

Chief Curator at NYUAD and Executive Director of The NYUAD Art Gallery Maya Allison

Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection is curated by Lynn Gumpert, director of the Grey Art Gallery, New York University, and is made possible in part by the generous support of Dalinc and Mehves Ariburnu; Violet Jabara Charitable Trust; WLS Spencer Foundation; A. Alfred Taubman Foundation; Avid Modjtabai; Charina Endowment Fund; Persian Heritage Foundation; Vazifdar Builders Pvt. Ltd.; Ariel and Alaleh Ostad; the Grey’s Director’s Circle, Inter/National Council, and Friends; and the Abby Weed Grey Trust. In-kind support is provided by ArtCareNYC Inc.

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.