Exhibition of Paintings by Michael Chow | Sotheby's Dubai

Sotheby’s Dubai will host a solo exhibition of paintings by Michael Chow, known as ‘M’, best known as the iconic restauranteur to the stars, from 30th May to 1st July. Over his eight decades, M has inspired countless paintings by the likes of Andy Warhol, Jean Michel Basquiat, David Hockney and Ed Ruscha, and now – after a 50-year break – he has taken up painting, returning to his life’s true passion.  

“We are thrilled to be hosting M for his first exhibition in the Middle East. This region, not least the UAE, has a voracious thirst for culture and M is an artist who captures this spirit perfectly, through his many years of creativity. M’s oeuvre is also truly international in outlook, and we look forward to seeing more of him our part of the world – not least as we anticipate the opening of the iconic Mr. Chow restaurant on our doorsteps in Saudi Arabia next year.” – Katia Nounou Boueiz, Head of Sotheby’s UAE.

Artist 'M' was born the son of Chinese national treasure and legendary Peking Opera Grand Master, Zhou Xing Fang, and in his youth moved to London to study architecture at Saint Martin School of Design. He opened his first restaurant in Knightsbridge on February 14, 1968 and it became an instant magnet for artists and celebrities alike, with iterations of Mr. Chow fine dining restaurants opening in Beverly Hills, New York, Miami and Las Vegas.The high-end dining spots continue to attract generations of devoted clients from art, fashion and music.

Throughout his life, the octogenarian has participated in so many forms of creativity – from architecture, to food, to installation, to film, to poetry. Even the restaurants were designed by himself with a unique and modern twist, with contemporary artworks by his friends Keith Haring, Jonas Wood and Julian Schnabel hung on the walls, and Lalique glass doors greeting diners. In the 1980s, Giorgio Armani visited at Mr Chow in New York and was so impressed by M’s architectural designs that he sent Armani tuxedos for all of the waiters. In return, Chow designed Armani’s Rodeo Drive boutique in 1987.

M’s bold approach to paintings brings European and American strands of abstraction together with a Chinese conception of space and texture, and an appreciation for the tradition of calligraphy. Having debuted his oeuvre in China, this is the artist’s first exhibition in the Middle East.

The showcase in Dubai comprises two sections. The first floor will present a series of large-scale mixedmedia canvases, each created using a wide variety of precious and household materials including gold leaf and silver, paint sheets, acrylic, plastic, and other found items. The second floor will present a series of works on paper. The title for this series, 'One Breath', derives as much from its portrayal of the physical world as it does from an inner space – a quantity that is both abstract and spiritual.

The exhibition is on public view at Sotheby’s Dubai, in the heart of the Dubai International Financial District, from 30 May – 1 July. The artist’s first exhibition in the Middle East will be followed by the opening of a Mr Chow restaurant in Riyadh.

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8th June, 2022 Visual Art | Paintings