DIFC Gulf Art Fair
By Elaine W. Ng
The DIFC Gulf Art Fair kicked off auspiciously on March 7 just as the ink of French president Jacques Chirac’s pen was drying in a formal agreement for the Louvre’s new Abu Dhabi outpost. The UAE’s first contemporary art fair is one of many recent international courtships. Power suitors, including the Guggenheim Foundation and auction house Christie’s, marked territory in early 2006, while stellar architects Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando and Jean Nouvel are designing what locals hope will be a dynamic arts infrastructure.
The idea for the Gulf Art Fair was born in a conversation between old London friends—art dealer John Martin and investment banker Benedict Floyd—and came to fruition a mere 16 months later with the support of the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC).