Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is being developed in collaboration with Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and will be a museum that promotes the understanding and appreciation of contemporary art, architecture, and other manifestations of modern and contemporary visual culture from an international perspective. The museum will support a transnational curatorial programme of art and visual culture from the 1960s to the present with a strong focus on art from the Middle East exploring the specific identity derived from the cultural traditions of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. The museum and its growing permanent collection is owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi.

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Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s pre-opening exhibition Seeing Through Light at Manarat Al Saadiyat will feature artworks by 18 international artists from the 1960s to today exploring the theme of light and be showcased from the 5 November 2014 – 19 January 2015 and will introduce the future museum’s curatorial vision through a theme-based collection presentation.  Some of the artists included are Angela Bulloch, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Robert Irwin, Y.Z. Kami, Bharti Kher, Rachid Koraïchi, Yayoi Kusama, Otto Piene, and Douglas Wheeler.

The show will be curated by Susan Davidson, Senior Curator, Collections and Exhibitions, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, with Sasha Kalter-Wasserman, Assistant Curator, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and Maisa Al Qassimi, Programmes Manager, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.

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This vision endeavours to foster a transcultural perspective on the history of art, intended to encompass various legacies of modernism and the emergence of contemporary cultural thought in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world.  With its poetic references to the start of a new era, Seeing Through Light is fitting for a premiere exhibition of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s collection. This group of artworks illuminates the creative vision of the future museum, offers the first glimpse of what is to come, and represents a significant milestone in the evolution of the new museum. The diverse and popular theme of light presented in the exhibition is just one narrative that may be more fully explored in Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s future museum designed by Frank Gehry, itself a monument to light whose glass-covered cones are guaranteed to become beacons on the cultural landscape of Abu Dhabi.

HE Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) said: “Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s inaugural exhibition introduces the public to the collection of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and illuminates not only the fabric of the museum itself but also its cultural direction and broader role in the region’s international art scene. TCA Abu Dhabi has created a cultural platform, through various community and education programmes, to inspire artistic experiences and education that contributes to creating a unique cultural destination for residents and visitors”.

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