New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) has recently announced the appointment of Duygu Demir as the Curator of the university’s Art Gallery and Research Assistant Professor of Art History. This strategic move comes as the NYUAD Art Gallery prepares to celebrate its tenth year of exhibitions and publications.
Demir, originally from Turkey and a former founding member of SALT, a cultural institution in Istanbul, brings a wealth of experience to her new roles. Holding a PhD from MIT with funding from both MIT and Harvard University, she has previously served as an Assistant Professor of Art History at Sabancı University.
The Art Gallery Executive Director and University Chief Curator, Maya Allison, emphasized the significance of this appointment in the context of the UAE’s evolving arts landscape. Allison highlighted the gallery’s commitment to exhibition-making as a means of exploration, supporting experimentation in both form and concept while contributing to the broader field of art history.
Demir’s expertise extends to non-Western modernism, exhibition histories, transnational artistic encounters, and the convergence of art and architecture. In addition to her curatorial responsibilities, she will also serve as a Research Assistant Professor, supporting NYUAD’s Arts and Humanities division.
One notable initiative Demir is spearheading is the “Curators Talk” public program, a series of talks where curators discuss their unique approaches to curatorial practice. In her words, the series aims to provide a space for dialogue, reflection, and exploration for those curious about the art world.
Having curated acclaimed exhibitions at SALT in Istanbul, including solo and group shows, Demir’s recent projects include “10: Abstractions, Intimations, Ruminations,” a survey of Turkish art from the last decade. Her academic contributions include writing for prestigious journals and publications, as well as collaborating on exhibitions showcased at renowned institutions such as Tate Modern.
Demir, holding a combined BA degree in Visual Arts and Art History from Columbia University and a PhD from MIT’s department of Architecture, is well-positioned to lead the Art Gallery’s program, which alternates between historical and contemporary exhibitions from around the world, alongside modern and contemporary art from the region.
As NYU Abu Dhabi continues its mission of fostering creative experimentation and contributing to the development of new bodies of knowledge, Duygu Demir’s appointment marks a pivotal moment in the university’s commitment to the arts. The forthcoming years promise exciting growth in exhibitions, publications, symposia, and programs, catering to local and global audiences alike.