The NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery Opens Spring Exhibition that Explores the Future of Landscape in Art

Installation view of the only constant at The NYUAD Art Gallery, 2023. Works by artists Tarek Al-Ghoussein and Clifford Ross. Photo: John Varghese.

Curated by The NYUAD Art Gallery Executive Director and University Chief Curator, Maya Allison, the only constant is a meditation on our complicated notions of paradise and utopia

The NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Art Gallery’s spring exhibition, the only constant, will open on February 22. Running until June 4, the show includes works by Tarek Al-Ghoussein, Patty Chang, Gil Heitor Cortesão, Sharon Lockhart, Taus Makhacheva, Haroon Mirza, Clifford Ross, Thomas Struth, and Vivek Vilasini.

Featuring 27 different works, the exhibition is curated by the Executive Director of The NYUAD Art Gallery and University Chief Curator, Maya Allison. This is part of Allison’s ongoing study of landscape in contemporary art.


“The artists here confront contemporary landscape as a site of profound tension: we change the landscape, and it changes us. Even as we might long for an untouched paradise, humans build futuristic utopias. My concept for this exhibition grew out of Tarek Al-Ghoussein’s Al Sawaber series, through which runs a theme: utopia and paradise arrive, and then depart (change is the only constant). This tension is fundamental to questions we face as humans on this planet. Of course, those questions are part of the larger dialogue now underway in the UAE as we approach the COP28 convening this winter.”

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

The artists in this exhibition engage with landscape to transform looking into witnessing: to observe whorls of pollution recorded on delicate rice paper (Vivek Vilasini); washing an entire ship’s hull by hand, to acknowledge the loss of the Aral Sea (Patty Chang); or to closely examine each detail of a dense landscape, at night (Sharon Lockhart)

The exhibition begins with the idea of paradise (Thomas Struth), opposite the roiling power of an untamable sea (Clifford Ross). It begins and ends in technological aspiration, and the incomprehensible imprint of our existence on our planet. Taus Makhacheva asks “when is land an object to be owned or a territory to be marked?” Without humans to damage the landscape, abandoned luxury homes would have incredible views (Gil Heitor Cortesão). What if we were to surround the sun in solar panels, and block out the light? The exhibition ends with Haroon Mirza visualizing this question in a living garden, fed by light from those solar panels.

the only constant is open until June 4, from Tuesday through Sunday, 12-8pm. For more details visit here.