This week, everyone in the art world seems to want a slice of the Saudi art scene with high-profile artists and curators descending on the ultra-conservative kingdom for a number of art events, notably the second edition of the Desert X AlUla contemporary art exhibition. Art professionals, from the Swiss patron Maja Hoffmann to collector Basma AlSulaiman, put on their best sneakers and sunglasses to traipse around the 15 sculptural works dotted around the historic landscape that has, until now, remained largely shut off to the world. The VIP launch was also graced by the US singer Alicia Keys who cast her eye over works on show by Dana Awartani and Alicja Kwade. The musician caught the attention of visitors by twirling in the centre of Jim Denevan’s land art installation Angle of Repose comprising 364 sand hills arranged in concentric circles. Keys told starstruck onlookers from an open-top jeep that the work was “just beautiful”. The music star is in Saudi Arabia with husband Swiss Beatz ahead of a concert today at the Maraya concert hall. Meanwhile, a Desert X work will no doubt pop up soon in a Keys video or on a forthcoming album cover.
UPDATE (14 February): This article was amended to include the correct number of sand hills (Angle of Repose).