"Almost none of the art being acquired, exhibited, bought and sold in the Gulf challenges the cultural values or ideals of the royal patrons who are fueling the boom." This is a brilliant piece in the Wall Street Journal by Noah Feldman. I've been meaning to write an article on this subject for a while. There's been a major shift in art procurement towards the Gulf region in the past decade but I don't see a major impact on society yet. Perhaps this is a generational issue. Consider Kuwait, it was the centre of the arts movement in the region in the 1970s and 1980s. (Click to see image of Andy Warhol visiting Kuwait in 1977). Today Kuwait's art movement is a shadow of its former self although a few initiatives such as Lulua Al Sabah's auction and the little known Kuwait Art Museum exist. The art industry was a victim of both Saddam's invasion and of the rising religious powers after Kuwait's liberation in 1991. Is the art industry of Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, and Doha an elitist movement that may not exist without government patronage? How many nationals of these states visit the exhibitions and the museums I wonder? I often find myself in museums and exhibitions in all these Gulf states either being the only person in the show or with a few others. I also make a point to write in the visitors books and go over the dates and names of visitors (some free museums require people to write their names as they enter) and find three or four people to have visited in the entire day. So other than the opening night (say a hundred "locals" show up tops, 95 of whom don't care about art but attend because the Sheikh is present) only a handful of nationals visit these shows. Even for someone who is as enthusiastic about art in the Gulf as I am I fear that wasteful expenditure on art (read the WSJ piece) can actually have a detrimental and negative effect on the local population who will see such spending as unjustifiable.