Reactor

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Isn’t Going to be Eurocentric

by Hrag Vartanian on November 12, 2012

The Financial Times has a short report on the partial unveiling of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection at the Abu Dhabi art fair, including this interesting nugget about the non-Eurocentric focus of the collection (emphasis ours):

Until now the big unknown has been what it is collecting but director Richard Armstrong partly lifted the veil at a panel at the fair on Wednesday, revealing six works out of the 100-odd acquisitions made so far. These are a ripped poster work by Jacques Villeglé; a major installation by Algerian Rachid Koraïchi; a mirrored sculpture by Iranian artist Monir Farmanfarmaian; a glass chandelier by Ai Weiwei; a “tapestry” by African artist El Anatsui; and a sculpture by Indian artist Subodh Gupta. Asked later whether that mix – one-sixth European to works from other regions – was indicative of the museum’s collecting thrust, he said “Yes”. Armstrong also insisted that he was trying to be “as fair and conscientious as possible” when making purchases from dealers.

The GCC  (Gulf Cooperation Council) states have long been talking about a focus on building relationships with Asia rather than the West, particularly as a vacation and business destination, and this other nugget in an article in Salon today, “US to Overtake Saudi in Oil Output by 2020,” may suggest one of the reasons why:

The U.S. oil boom would accelerate a switch in the direction of international oil trade, the IEA said, predicting that by 2035 almost 90 percent of oil from the Middle East would be drawn to Asia.

I think it all sounds like a very refreshing, and the contemporary art world would benefit from a truly multipolar art scene.

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