Cultural Aspirations: As International Auction Houses Take an Increasing Interest in Middle Eastern Art, Abu Dhabi and Dubai Are Competing to Become the Region's Cultural Centre. but Which Is Most Likely to Succeed?
Robson, Victoria, MEED Middle East Economic Digest
Middle Eastern art and culture traditionally conjures up visions associated with the Levant and North Africa, while thoughts of business lead to the Gulf. In the UAE, the two pictures are merging, with different emirates trying to brand themselves as cultural centres, powering the development of a contemporary art market in the GCC.
While Abu Dhabi has won attention for signing deals with the Louvre and Guggenheim to open new museums in the emirate, Dubai appears to have the lead, at least for now, when it comes to the more commercial elements of investing in art.
In recognition of the spiralling interest from the region, several major auctions are planned for 2007. Sotheby's will stage its first standalone show of contemporary Middle Eastern art in London in October. It will also launch a prize for the best emerging regional artist to accompany the sale.
Sotheby's is not the only auction house that is turning its attention to the region. It is vying with rivals Christies and Bonhams to serve the growing demand for Middle Eastern art from collectors. Christies established a representative office in Dubai in 2005 and held its second sale of modern and contemporary art in the emirates in February 2007. The auction featured Iranian and Arab artists alongside their Indian and Western peers.
In total, $9.4 million worth of work was sold at the auction. Including the sale of jewels and watches the day …
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Publication information: Article title: Cultural Aspirations: As International Auction Houses Take an Increasing Interest in Middle Eastern Art, Abu Dhabi and Dubai Are Competing to Become the Region's Cultural Centre. but Which Is Most Likely to Succeed?. Contributors: Robson, Victoria - Author. Magazine title: MEED Middle East Economic Digest. Volume: 51. Issue: 28 Publication date: July 13, 2007. Page number: 4+. © 1999 MEED Middle East Economic Digest. All Rights Reserved. COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group.
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