Next month, the Manarat Al Saadiyat exhibition space in the Middle-Eastern emirate will host a show of 72 works from the master dealer’s private collection, according to the New York Observer and the Wall Street Journal. Titled "RSTW," the exhibition — reportedly proposed by Rita Aoun Abdo, the emirate’s cultural department director — will feature pieces by Rauschenberg, Serra, Twombly, Warhol, Ruscha, and Christopher Wool. (The title is an acronym of the artists' last names.) Interestingly, five of those six artists once — all except Wool — were represented by the late dealer Leo Castelli, whom Gagosian befriended and many of whose artists he came to represent, including Serra, Ruscha, Twombly, and the estates of Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg.
Gagosian told the Journal that he is "very excited" about showing the works. "I hope that this exhibition advances the dialogue in this region," he said. No doubt he is also eager to further his business prospects in the region. As he told ARTINFO senior correspondent Sarah Douglas last fall, before making a rare speaking appearance at Abu Dhabi Art: "Abu Dhabi in particular has become a compelling situation because of not only the possibility for private collections but the very ambitious museums that are being built there."
Could the works in Gagosian’s private collection eventually find their way to a museum? While the dealer has not stated his plans, it may be worth recalling the line that New York Times writer Grace Glueck attributed to him in the early 1990s: "I don’t like to sell paintings to museums… because then I can’t get them back."