NYU Abu Dhabi Art art exhibition dubai art magazine
Curated by The NYUAD Art Gallery Executive Director and University Chief Curator, Maya Allison, the only constant is a meditation on our complicated notions of paradise and utopia.

The NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Art Gallery’s spring exhibition, the only constant, will open on February 22. Running until June 4, the show includes works by Tarek Al-Ghoussein, Patty Chang, Gil Heitor Cortesão, Sharon Lockhart, Taus Makhacheva, Haroon Mirza, Clifford Ross, Thomas Struth, and Vivek Vilasini.

NYU Abu Dhabi Art art exhibition dubai art magazine
the only constant

Featuring 27 different works, the exhibition is curated by the Executive Director of The NYUAD Art Gallery and University Chief Curator, Maya Allison. This is part of Allison’s ongoing study of landscape in contemporary art. For the only constant, she explains: “The artists here confront contemporary landscape as a site of profound tension: we change the landscape, and it changes us.

Even as we might long for an untouched paradise, humans build futuristic utopias. My concept for this exhibition grew out of Tarek Al-Ghoussein’s Al Sawaber series, through which runs a theme: utopia and paradise arrive, and then depart (change is the only constant). This tension is fundamental to questions we face as humans on this planet. Of course, those questions are part of the larger dialogue now underway in the UAE as we approach the COP28 convening this winter.”

Vivek Vilasini, City Fifth Investigation

The artists in this exhibition engage with landscape to transform looking into witnessing: to observe whorls of pollution recorded on delicate rice paper (Vivek Vilasini); washing an entire ship’s hull by hand, to acknowledge the loss of the Aral Sea (Patty Chang); or to closely examine each detail of a dense landscape, at night (Sharon Lockhart).

The exhibition begins with the idea of paradise (Thomas Struth), opposite the roiling power of an untamable sea (Clifford Ross). It begins and ends in technological aspiration, and the incomprehensible imprint of our existence on our planet. Taus Makhacheva asks “when is land an object to be owned or a territory to be marked?” Without humans to damage the landscape, abandoned luxury homes would have incredible views (Gil Heitor Cortesão). What if we were to surround the sun in solar panels, and block out the light? The exhibition ends with Haroon Mirza visualizing this question in a living garden, fed by light from those solar panels.

Haroon Mirza, Dyson Sphere

For more details visit https://www.nyuad-artgallery.org/en_US/our-exhibitions/main-gallery/the-only-constant/.

About The NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery

Established in 2014, The NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Art Gallery is the Gulf’s first of its kind, and among the only university galleries in the region with a program of scholarly and experimental museum exhibitions. Supporting the progress made by other arts institutions within the UAE, The NYUAD Art Gallery and the projects it supports serve the local arts community as a testing ground for new and innovative curatorial approaches that nourish the dialogue around exhibition practice in the Gulf. The program is recognized for mapping new territories and ideas, presenting exhibitions by internationally established artists, curators, and scholars. A regular book publication program is a core part of its curatorial frame within its academic mission. In addition, its auxiliar venue, the Project Space, is an exhibition laboratory for UAE-based artists and curators Situated within NYU Abu Dhabi, the community of which hails from over 125 countries, the Gallery, the Project Space, and the Gallery’s Reading Room collectively open up artistic opportunities and initiate regional and global dialogue.


About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective program with majors in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, arts, and humanities with a world center for advanced research. Its campus enables students to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world, and to advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 125 countries and speak over 100 languages. Together, NYU’s campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.