Top galleries from around the world participated, showing art worth a total of $1 billion. While Dubai has welcomed Western culture in recent years, some aesthetic friction was evident; exhibitors only brought artwork appropriate for an Islamic state, meaning no nudity or religious imagery. Many Western works — such as Damien Hirst's medicine cabinet — left viewers puzzled and bored, while Arab, Indian, and Chinese art sold briskly. The event comes at a time when Dubai and Abu Dhabi are competing for cultural cachet — the wealthier Abu Dhabi is currently planning its branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums.
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