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REVIEWS

ABU DHABI

Manarat al-Saadiyat

Disorientation II

The Rise and Fall of Arab Cities

HRAIR SARKISSIAN, Execution Squares, 2008, lamda print mounted on aluminium, 125 x 160 cm. Courtesy Kalfayan Galleries, Athens / Thessaloniki.

The first exhibition on Saadiyat Island, or “Island of Happiness”—Abu Dhabi’s ambitious experiment in bringing together international institutions of culture (the Louvre and Guggenheim museums), higher education (New York University) and luxury-tourism franchises from hotels to golf courses—had a decisively dour tone. “Disorientation II: The Rise and Fall of Arab Cities” expressed curator Jack Persekian’s perspective on “the unforgiving situation of loss

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