In Dubai - where locals rib tourists who remark on the constant construction with the quip, "It is so bad that I went to sleep alone last night, and woke up next to a skyscraper," - the Creek Art Fair is providing a precious oasis amidst the city's booming, bling-bling modernity. Organized by foremost tastemaker art space XVA, the fair embeds cutting edgy contemporary art in Bastakiya, Dubai's oldest complex of buildings. A vibrant and intimate satellite fair next to the Art Dubai fair, the Creek Art Fair occupies 22 traditional houses and presents talks by Rem Koolhaas, Reza Derakshani and other notables on topics such as censorship, collecting and construction, along with screenings of a cosmopolitan roster of classically controversial films like Lolita, Trainspotting and Blue Velvet in the gallery café.
Both Art Dubai and the Creek Art fair are in their second year and prove that Dubai's art scene is booming alongside its construction. With Christies and Sotheby's doing steady business here, and both the Guggenheim and Louvre primed to set up sister spaces in the UAE, Dubai's two main fairs are quickly joining Frieze, Basel and the Armory as mandatory stops on worldly art-goers' calendars.