The NYUAD Art Gallery is an intimate museum space in a university setting. Modelled on the academic museums of the US, the curatorial program explores locally relevant and internationally significant subjects. This model of scholarly, experimental, non-commercial art exhibitions complements and enhances the region’s fast-growing cultural ecosystem.
The Project Space, located in the The Arts Center, is a vital part of the Gallery’s identity, serving as a laboratory which creates room for experimentation and gives priority to exhibitions from within the academic and regional community, including the annual Senior Capstone Festival, faculty-curated exhibitions, experimental projects, and the work of regional emerging artists. In addition, the NYUAD Art Gallery produces and presents The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF), under the Patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan.
The Gallery is a core catalyst for NYUAD as a locus of intellectual and creative activity, linking the university with the Abu Dhabi public and a worldwide community of artists, curators, and scholars. Supporting the progress made by other arts institutions within the UAE, the NYUAD Art Gallery and the projects it supports serve the local arts community as a testing ground for new and innovative curatorial approaches that nourish the dialogue around exhibition practice in the Gulf.
Executive Director and Chief Curator
Maya Allison is Chief Curator at New York University Abu Dhabi and founding Executive Director of the NYUAD Art Gallery and Project Space. Her background is in academic museums: she curated her first major exhibitions at The RISD Museum (Rhode Island School of Design), then served as Curator of the Bell Gallery (Brown University). She was also director of the city-wide, international new media showcase Pixilerations, and of the 5 Traverse Gallery, all in the US. She holds an MFA from Columbia University, a BA in art history from Reed College, and continued her research on curatorial practice via a fellowship at Brown University’s Center for Public Humanities.
She has curated numerous exhibitions at these and other institutions. Those for which she developed book-length projects include Wunderground: Providence, 1995 to the Present (RISD Museum, 2006), Slavs and Tatars: Mirrors for Princes (JRP|Ringier, 2015), Diana Al-Hadid: Phantom Limb (Skira, 2016), and But We Cannot See Them: Tracing a UAE Art Community, 1988-2008 (Akkadia Press, 2017). Recently, she guest-curated Artists and the Cultural Foundation: The Early Years (with publication, Cultural Foundation Abu Dhabi, 2018), a 30-year survey of 18 UAE artists. Her upcoming exhibition is Zimoun (NYUAD Art Gallery, 2019), for which she is editing the first book-length monograph on the artist.