Monday, April 23, 2012

Abu Dhabi Guggenheim on the backburner

It was billed as an unprecedented cluster of glory that would transform Abu Dhabi into the Paris of the Middle East: three museums including the world's largest Guggenheim, a branch of the Louvre and a national museum designed by starchitects Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Norman Foster. However six years after the project was unveiled the only visible signs of the complex are an illuminated model in an exhibition centre near the construction site.

During this time the United Arab Emirates' art scene has grown, with Dubai now host to a world art fair and thriving gallery scene, while Sharjah has a respected contemporary biennale, prompting calls to replace the Guggenheim with a smaller homegrown art museum that would stimulate cultural development as well as the local economy. The Guggenheim effect is sexy when you are not on the radar," says art patron Ramin Salsali. "But Abu Dhabi today - I'm sorry to say, but the Guggenheim should pay Abu Dhabi to be there not vice versa." Read more...
Image: rendering of the Abu Dhabi Guggenheim