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.
A (rare) speech by Mr. Gagosian was the highlight at last year’s Abu Dhabi Art Fair, the event’s inaugural year. Mr. Gagosian talked mostly about the motives that drive buyers and the art market, then offered a surprisingly affecting personal account about how sometime-feelings of inferiority as a child turned him into an art dealer. He ended with a sales pitch to the sheikhs how buying art can change the world.
So can selling it–and he should know.
Auction Vet Redux
Hugues Joffre, one of Christie’s top rainmakers in contemporary art in the 1990s, has rejoined the company after a decade. Joffre will be one of four International Directors of 20th-century art.
New Urban Art Group to Fund School Arts
A just-formed nonprofit, the Urban Art Foundation, has come up with an inventive solution to fight cutbacks in arts education in the tristate area. It has arranged for prominent graffiti artists in town for the “Meeting of Styles”–something of the street-art field’s annual World Cup–to paint graffiti on New Jersey high school P.S. 15 at a fund-raiser this Saturday and Sunday.
The Urban Art Foundation is the brainchild of New York real estate developer Eric Granowsky, principal of KMG, who was dismayed that his own daughter’s school was phasing out arts education.
Artists from about a dozen countries will be given wall space at P.S. 15, which is located at 98 Oak Street in Paterson, N.J. One whole side of the school will be devoted to the project. Admission to the public is $15. Monies raised will go to fund arts programs in area schools.
As previously reported in The Observer, nearly 20 percent of New York City’s roughly 1,600 public schools still lack a certified art, music, theater or dance teacher.
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