Abu Dhabi Highlights Culture This Winter

United Arab Emirates becomes destination for elite art and cultural events

By: By Twila Grissom

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi // © 2009 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

 Guggenheim Abu Dhabi // © 2009
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

This winter, Abu Dhabi is establishing an international platform in the United Arab Emirates for arts and culture. The cultural program includes the creation of the Saadiyat Island Cultural District, purported to be the world’s largest single concentration of premier cultural institutions. This district is to include museums such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum and the Zayed National Museum, all scheduled to be completed in 2013. Leading up to the opening of these museums, Abu Dhabi is holding several events this winter to whet the artistic palate of visitors.

The world-renowned collection of New York’s Guggenheim Museum will also be displayed at the Emirates Palace from Nov. 17 through Feb. 4, exhibiting the works of more than 40 of the most-well known artists of the 20th century, including Cezanne, Kandinsky, Klee, Mondrian and Pollock. This opening preempts the opening of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum, which is planned to be the largest Guggenheim in the world and is expected to be completed between 2011 and 2012.

The first exhibition to be shown on Saadiyat Island, the island where the new Cultural District is being developed, is “Disorientation II: The Rise and Fall of Arab Cities,” the inaugural offering in the new exhibition space of Manarat Al Saadiyat. This thought-provoking exhibit portrays 16 contemporary artists’ takes on the unity and division in their societies presently and in the past. This exhibit runs from Nov. 22 to Feb. 20 on Saadiyat Island.

For those looking for the full immersive experience, the magnificent Emirates Palace, location of the Guggenheim collection, also is a luxury hotel and a national landmark located on a half-square mile of private, white sandy beach and surrounded by 85 hectares of beautifully landscaped gardens with rooms available for around 400 dollars per night.

As far as reaching Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways offers direct flights from New York and Toronto to Abu Dhabi and will offer nonstop daily flights from Chicago beginning in January.

Disorientation II: The Rise and Fall of Arab Cities
The Guggenheim: The Making of a Museum

Emirates Palace

Etihad Airways