In its fourth year, Abu Dhabi Art, which was recently held at Manarat al Saadiyat and in the neighboring UAE Pavilion, showed why it is quickly becoming one of the most celebrated art fairs in the region. This year, 50 local and international galleries exhibited their work, accompanied by a host of workshops, performances, interviews, and discussions, including one with architectural superstars Frank Gehry, Lord Norman Foster, and Jean Nouvel, whose designs for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the Zayed National Museum, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi, respectively, will soon — along with NYUAD's campus — form the centerpieces of Saadiyat Island's architectural landscape.
For the second year running, Abu Dhabi Art also attracted a cohort of NYU Abu Dhabi students who volunteered in various capacities. Among them was sophomore and avid art enthusiast Cleo Smits. "I worked primarily with events," she said. "I am very lucky in that I was able to sit in on some really interesting talks — one with Gehry, Foster, and Nouvel, and another with Marina Abramovic." The discussion with Abramovic was particularly enlightening for Smits, who said, "hearing her speak about her art and the motivations behind her pieces helped me better understand her artwork, which was previously only confusing to me."
Freshman Veronica Houk also worked at the event as part of her internship with the Leila Heller Gallery. "It was really an honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to work with such a respected, accomplished gallerist and as a woman she has become a particularly powerful role model for me," Houk said. As well as working during the fair, Houk also participated in the installation and de-installation of the pieces.
The event offered a unique opportunity for students to be involved in Abu Dhabi's burgeoning arts scene. While the four-day event concluded on November 10, the Art, Talks and Sensations program will run until January 6.