• The public can visit in-person from November 15 for the first time since the pandemic, to experience Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection
  • With iconic painting and sculpture from 1960s, the exhibition challenges Western-centric narratives of modern art

Abu Dhabi : The NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Art Gallery, the University’s academic museum-gallery, re-opens its doors to the public on Monday, November 15, with the exhibition Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection.  This will be the first physical exhibition in the gallery since it moved to virtual programs in Spring of 2020, and it will remain open to the public through February 5, 2022.

Abby Weed Grey was a North American collector who made multiple trips abroad in the 1960s and early 1970s, to explore and collect modern art from across Asia. She made eight trips to Iran, and four trips each to India and Turkey, where she acquired the prints, drawings, paintings, and sculpture that came to form the nucleus of the Abby Weed Grey Collection of Modern Asian and Middle Eastern art, housed at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery.

The exhibition sheds new light on famed artists such as Parviz Tanavoli, Fahrelnissa Zeid, and M.F. Husain, and also includes the collector’s personal letters, journals, invoices, catalogues, invitations, and photographs from the Abby Weed Grey Papers in the NYU Archives. The archives make visible how these artists drew on their specific heritages while also engaging in global discourses around key issues of modernity.

Essays in the accompanying book allow the viewer to understand how artists of various nationalities melded local traditions with global trends of the rapidly changing modern world of the 1960s. The collection thereby contributes to ongoing dialogues that help expand the canons of modern art beyond the traditional areas of North America and Europe.

Chief Curator at NYU Abu Dhabi and Executive Director of The NYUAD Art Gallery Maya Allison, said: “We are excited to welcome the local community back to The NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery with an exhibition of such historical significance and regional relevance. Abby Weed Grey’s goal was to promote international artistic exchange in an academic setting, and her mission unwittingly foreshadowed our own mission here at NYU Abu Dhabi, 35 years later.  NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection is a great example of how the act of collecting today becomes part of future art histories, and can make possible true cultural dialogue, through the stories that each of these artworks bring to us.” 

Modernisms opened in New York City in 2019, and traveled to the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in the US before making its way to the UAE. Modernisms is the second collaboration between The NYUAD Art Gallery and NYU’s Grey Art Gallery. Lynn Gumpert, director of the Grey Art Gallery and the curator of Modernisms notes: “We are thrilled that Modernisms will be presented at the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, which also hosted our acclaimed exhibition Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965 in 2017. The time seems right to reexamine Mrs. Grey’s trailblazing efforts toward cultural exchange.”

The Grey Art Gallery has the largest institutional holdings of modern Iranian art outside Iran; the largest known institutional collection of modern Turkish art outside Turkey; and some 80 works of modern Indian art. The collection of Abby Weed Grey comprises some of the most important modern artists from that period and those regions. She embarked on her mission to collect contemporary art by non-Western artists in 1960, which resulted in a collection, the importance of which has become clear as scholarship around these artists grows.

For more information, please visit www.nyuad-artgallery.org/ 

Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection is organized by the Grey Art Gallery, New York University, and is made possible in part by the generous support of Dalinc and Mehves Ariburnu; Violet Jabara Charitable Trust; WLS Spencer Foundation; A. Alfred Taubman Foundation; Avid Modjtabai; Charina Endowment Fund; Persian Heritage Foundation; Vazifdar Builders Pvt. Ltd.; Ariel and Alaleh Ostad; the Grey’s Director’s Circle, Inter/National Council, and Friends; and the Abby Weed Grey Trust. In-kind support is provided by ArtCareNYC Inc.

Exhibition Title: Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection
Exhibition Dates: November 15 - February 5, 2022
Admission: Free- Appointment only (tickets will be available starting Wednesday, October 27)


Link to page: https://www.nyuad-artgallery.org/en_US/our-exhibitions/main-gallery/modernisms

About The NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery
Established in 2014, The NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Art Gallery is the Gulf’s first and only university gallery with a program of scholarly and experimental museum exhibitions. The program seeks to map new territories and ideas through presenting exhibitions by internationally established artists, curators, and scholars at its main space. Its auxiliary venue, the Project Space, is an exhibition laboratory for the university community, and for emerging artists and curators. Situated within NYU Abu Dhabi, the community of which hails from over 115 countries, The Art Gallery organizes free public programs and guided tours in conjunction with its groundbreaking exhibitions. It also produces scholarly publications, which are a core part of its curatorial frame and reflect its academic mission. Collectively, with the Gallery’s Reading Room, these welcoming, intimate spaces open up artistic opportunities and initiate regional and international dialogue. 

About the Grey Art Gallery
The Grey Art Gallery, New York University’s fine arts museum, enables and encourages transformative encounters with works of art. Engaging with challenging issues in the study of material culture, the Grey serves as a museum-laboratory, sparking interdisciplinary scholarship. Uniquely positioned to cultivate visual literacy and critical thinking, the Grey shares NYU’s fundamental commitment as a global research university to advance knowledge of different cultures, contexts, and histories across time. The Grey also fosters experiential learning through its collections and participates in the cultural, intellectual, and environmental spheres of NYU’s Global Network, of New York City, and of the broader world. In 2025, the Grey will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

About NYU Abu Dhabi
NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and science campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly-selective liberal arts, engineering and science curriculum with a world center for advanced research and scholarship enabling its students to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from 115 nations and speak over 115 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.

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