Gagosian to Unveil Collection in Arabia

The silver fox with the golden eye is showing off.

Powerhouse art dealer Larry Gagosian will, for the first time, put his personal contemporary art collection on public view. The cultural and tourism divisions of Abu Dhabi are expected to announce shortly that the gallerist’s own works, which include some 72 Andy Warhols, Robert Rauschenbergs and other artworks, will go on exhibit there next month at the personal invitation of the nation’s government. The Gagosian collection opens Sept. 22 on Saadiyat Island, future home of the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museums which are currently under construction.

It’s all part of the United Arab Emirates’ ambitious and deep-pocketed plan to create a cultural scene in the region almost overnight, through a museum-building spree, lavish beachfront art fairs and cultural think tanks that have hosted some of the world’s major artists, architects and philanthropists. It’s apparently working: Jeff Koons, architect Jean Nouvel and Francois Pinault attended last year’s Abu Dhabi Art Fair, and Museum of Modern Art director Glenn Lowry has been the featured speaker at rival/sister art fair Art Dubai. Art galleries such as Pace, Acquavella and White Cube have flocked to area events because the region’s royal families are involved as both hosts and art buyers,

The Gagosian exhibition is called “RSTW (Rauschenberg, Ruscha, Serra, Twombly, Warhol and Wool)” and will run during the annual Abu Dhabi Art Fair in November, and may prove a magnet to wealthy collectors to attend. The marquee exhibition is not great news for the auction houses, as their fall sales of Impressionist and Modern art will be held concurrently with this year’s fair. The Persian Gulf beaches, plus the chance to see what the famed dealer has kept for himself over the years, may beckon more strongly.