Art Basel Inside: new immersive arts programme to come to Abu Dhabi

The three-day initiative will explore world issues through the prism of art

Art Basel Inside will be a three-day arts programme curated by Marc-Olivier Wahler, director of the Musee d'Art et d'Histoire Geneva. Courtesy Art Basel Inside
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Under the prestigious banner of Art Basel, a series of world-leading art shows founded in 1970, a new three-day arts programme will come to Abu Dhabi in February 2020, called Art Basel Inside.

The new initiative will invite about 300 "change-makers" and thought leaders from a range of fields and industries to share visions and spark conversations on some of the most pertinent issues facing the world today. This includes artists, researchers, choreographers and architects, to name a few.

The programme will be created by Art Basel and curated by Marc-Olivier Wahler, director of the Musee d'Art et d'Histoire Geneva, and will take place in the UAE's capital from Friday, February 14 to Saturday, February 16, in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.

A whole host of activities have been announced, including site-specific installations, commissioned performances, discussions and workshops, as well as guest speakers from the worlds of technology and science, who will address topics such as intelligence (in humans, nature and machines), environments, sustainability and the role of arts. It will include an "interactive itinerary" with excursions that revolve around Abu Dhabi's varied terrain, plus break-out sessions will also be hosted to allow for in-depth discussion on challenging conventional notions and alternative future pathways.

"At Art Basel, we have seen that art can be a powerfully transformative tool," reads an introductory statement on the event's official website. "Artists have a crucial role to play in imagining a different kind of future, and we are proud to announce an inspiring new initiative that embraces the creative process as a vehicle for re-envisioning the world around us."

For the first time, this event sees the world-renowned fair series extend its boundaries beyond the world of arts explored through its three annual shows in Miami, Basel and Hong Kong.

Wahler says he is looking forward to moving away from a more traditional setting. "I am very much looking forward to creating an immersive environment, a unique ecosystem in which critical issues such as sustainability and artificial intelligence are not approached as isolated topics, but instead as contingencies within a larger network."

Marc Spiegler, Art Basel's global director, added: "In today's world it is vital that those in the art world not only speak to each other about the art world, but rather discuss with a wider range of thinkers and broader range of topics."

For Abu Dhabi, the event brings a new opportunity for the emirate to further its cultural vision and agenda. Said Saeed Ghobash, undersecretary of DCT – Abu Dhabi, said: "This is a collaboration brought about by a shared passion for the arts, and a belief in their importance in driving understanding, progress and innovation ... We look forward to welcoming the participants of Art Basel Inside to our emirate and to enabling this powerful collective to network in a forum that believes in the importance of culture in inspiring innovative thinking."

At the moment, the organisers are looking for people to attend who are at the forefront of every industry and who believe art can inspire change. If that sounds like you, then you can register your interest in the event on the website now. The cost of the experience is listed as $15,000 (Dh55,087), which includes luxury accommodation, chef-prepared meals, one-of-a-kind art experiences and access to creators. It does not include flights.

Further information about the event and full details of the programme will be announced in October 2019.

For more information, visit