Art Dubai closed its eighth edition on Saturday March 22 with attendance at the fair exceeding 25,000 visitors over the course of four days (March 19–22, 2014). 70 museum groups and more than 400 curators and museum representatives attended the fair, confirming Art Dubai’s role as the meeting point in the Middle East and South Asia, and the global fair of choice for the art world.
The works exhibited at the fair had a combined value in excess of 45 million USD. Galleries reported healthy sales to local, regional and international collectors and institutions from the minute the buzzing collectors’ preview opened on March 18, and throughout the week.
The most global and largest edition of the fair to date welcomed 85 participating galleries from 34 countries and featured the work of more than 500 artists. With the launch of Art Dubai Modern, a new gallery programme devoted to influential masters from the Middle East and South Asia, the fair cemented its role as a fair of discovery, growing its reach through history as well as geography.
Art Dubai Modern complements the two existing gallery programmes—Contemporary, featuring 70 galleries, and the curated, thematic programme Marker. The new hall provided a unique, curated and enthusiastically received series of solo and two-person exhibitions of works from the mid- to late 20th century including Huguette Caland (Janine Rubeiz Gallery, Beirut), Shemza (Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai), Ardeshir Mohasses (Shirin Gallery, Tehran), and Rasheed Araeen (Grosvenor Gallery, London) among others.
Dedicated in 2014 to Central Asia and the Caucasus, the dynamic Marker was curated by the artists Slavs and Tatars and took the form of a chaikhaneh, or Eurasian tea salon. Featured art spaces included ArtEast (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan); Asia Art (Almaty, Kazakhstan); North Caucasus Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Art, NCCA (Vladikavkaz, Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, Russia); Popiashvili Gvaberidze Window Project (Tbilisi, Georgia); and YARAT Contemporary Art Space (Baku, Azerbaijian).
The Global Art Forum, titled “Meanwhile…History,” attracted packed houses for both its Doha and Dubai programmes. Commissioned by Shumon Basar with co-directors Omar Berrada and Ala Younis, the Forum featured over 40 speakers and contributors including John Akomfrah, Shiva Balaghi, Catherine David, Okwui Enwezor, Solange Farkas, Adam Szymczyk and Marina Warner. The live talks were accompanied by a fellowship programme for young curators, led by Tirdad Zolghadr, and a set of new commissions and performances by Sarah Abu Abdallah, Annabel Daou, Raja’a Khalid and Hind Mezaina.