The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the city’s newest (and largest) modern art museum recently debuted its first exhibit, despite not yet officially opening its doors. “Seeing Through Light: Selections form the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection,” a curated exhibit showcasing exemplary pieces by 19 international artists whose work has been inspired by the idea of “light,”opened on November 5 at the Manarat Al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, and will run through January 19, 2015. The exhibit, which is divided into five sections: Perceptual, Reflected, Transcendent, Activated and Celestial, includes works by the following artists:
- Larry Bell, Dan Flavin, Robert Irwin, Keith Sonnier, and Douglas Wheeler, all early practitioners of the light art movement, in “Perceptual Light”
- Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, who were active in the 1960s as founders of the Zero group, as well as Ghada Amer and Rachid Koraïchi in “Reflected Light”
- Monir Farmanfarmian, Samia Halaby, Shirazeh Houshiary, and Z. Kami, all of whom use light thematically to explore the contemplative, in “Transcendent Light”
- Angela Bulloch, Hassan Khan, and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, whose artwork depends on advanced technologies to activate light, in “Activated Light”
- Bharti Kher, Yayoi Kusama, and Song Dong, who use a range of media to produce artworks that emulate the infinite, in “Celestial Light”
Event organizers say Seeing Through Light is exemplative of what visitors can expect from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi all year round after it officially opens.
First announced in 2007, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will feature art produced around the world and in a number of mediums, spanning from the 1960s to the present day, including Middle Eastern pieces from the 20th and 21st centuries. Meanwhile, as one would expect from a Guggenheim satellite, the 450,000-square foot building is itself a work of art, designed by architect Frank Gehry (who also designed this year’s Fondation Louis Vuitton).