It’s an emotional exploration of the art world: which are the most frequently asked questions when it comes to art? Artists, curators, gallerists, museum directors, art collectors and more give thoughtful and deeply personal answers to our queries, while shedding light on the contemporary art scene – and offering a glimpse into its future.
Andrée Sfeir-Semler: Quality! The handwriting content and ideas of the artist have to be very singular, and rooted in their deep inner self. The artists I represent, and have worked with over the years, are all very distinctive individuals, who develop significant, relevant work.
Hormoz Hematian: Sure we have certain criteria for choosing artworks, but ultimately, I am personally looking for love. One cannot plan what kind of a person one falls in love with. Same goes for art for me.
Manuel Rabaté: That’s very important. One other word would be: narrative or storytelling. We tell a history in the galleries, so it is connected to the history of art. We are starting at the beginning of creation, on beauty and art, just when, you know the Flinstones – the beginning from survival to this little je ne sais quoi, which is absolutely necessary, up to now. Walking in time, in chronological order, so to be able to tell this history, you need very strong artworks, artworks which are profusely speaking about their culture, of their moment in time and sometimes illustrating influences crossover and they would be completely hybrid or completely pure. So, it’s a little difficult to go, because there is no limit, all civilisations are a red line of the history and are very important. Then, there is another rule, which is more process-oriented,
which is because of our name, which bears Louvre and Abu Dhabi at the same time. It was the high standard of quality.
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Andrée Sfeir-Semler is an art historian who founded her eponymous gallery in Germany in 1985. Twenty years later, in 2005, she opened a second gallery in Beirut, transforming a defunct factory into the ¢rst white cube space in the Middle East. She studied history and history of art at the American University of Beirut as well as at the Sorbonne University in Paris under Pierre Bourdieu. She earned her PhD in 1980 at the University of Bielefeld. Sfeir-Semler Gallery has been representing artists who concentrate in their practice on conceptual and minimal art. Since 2003 the gallery has focused on contemporary art from the Arab World and has been instrumental in launching and developing the careers of numerous artists from the region.
Hormoz Hematian founded Dastan’s Basement in 2012 to showcase emerging and experimental Iranian art then followed with Dastan+2, dedicated to established artists and Dastan:Outside, a program of curated pop-up exhibitions throughout town. Together, the three initiatives cover the full spectrum of Iranian contemporary and modern art practices. In addition to an extensive local program of shows, pop-ups and eclectic collaborations, the Dastan group of galleries can be regularly sighted at established international venues such as Frieze New York, Art Basel Hong Kong, Art Dubai and Contemporary Istanbul.
Manuel Rabaté, Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi. Rabaté is a graduate of the Institut d’études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po, 1998), and of HEC Business School (2001). He began his career as a deputy director at the auditorium of the Musée du Louvre from 2002 to 2005. He participated in the creation of new programmes on Islamic Arts in the context of the first performance contract between the French government and the museum for its modernisation. He joined the Musée du Quai Branly as deputy director of cultural development a year before its opening in 2006, then led the launching of the first exhibitions abroad. Rabaté joined Agence France-Museums in 2008, a year after the signing of the intergovernmental agreement between France and Abu Dhabi. He has followed the Louvre Abu Dhabi project from its conceptual phase until its operational implementation as secretary general and acting CEO since 2010. He was appointed CEO of Agence France-Museums in 2013 to set up in Abu Dhabi a multidisciplinary team of museum professionals and follow through the phases of the project realization in collaboration with the major French museums and their UAE partners. In September 2016, Rabaté was appointed director of Louvre Abu Dhabi by the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi. Aside from his duties in the service of museums, Rabaté has also chaired the reflection group Culture & Management, in which he had created the museum department. He has also taught arts and cultural management at various universities in France and Abu Dhabi.