Guggenheim Abu Dhabi to make its big debut in 3-4 years
- The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be a 320,000 square-foot seaside museum designed by Frank Gehry
- It will house modern and contemporary art and act as a center for contemporary and Islamic art and artists
- According to multiple media reports, the museum should be completed in the enxt three to four years
- The museum is part of a cultural district in Abu Dhabi that is already home to the Louvre Abu Dhabi since November 2017 and will also include the Zayed National Museum
The Louvre Abu Dhabi attracted more than 1 million visitors in its first year and very soon, another illutrious name is set to join the Abu Dhabi art world — The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.
Saadiyat Island will soon emerge as the foremost art destination in the UAE. It's already home to the Louvre Abu Dhabi and in a couple of years the Guggenheim is 'on track and on budget" to open its doors as well. The museum is being developed near the completed Louvre Abu Dhabi, as part of the emirate’s increased tourism marketing spend by $136 million over three years.
This project, first announced in 2006, has been designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, and was originally scheduled to open two years ago.
“We are on track, we are on budget and we are looking forward to the commencement of the building construction soon,” Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum in New York, told EuroNews in a video interview last week.
The UAE's seven emirates all have lofty tourism goals and they've banked on culture to attract more and more tourists. In the Middle East itself, the country has already made a name for itself as centre for art in the Middle East.
Abu Dhabi and Sharjah are already known as the cultural capitals of the UAE, with plenty of museums and big name exhibitions between them. The Louvre Abu Dhabi will open its first photography exhibition 'Photographs 1842 – 1896: An Early Album of the World' on April 25 and will showcase a photograph of Makkah shot by Egyptian photographer Muhammad Sadiq Bey in 1881. Sharjah is also home to several museums including the Islamic Civilization, Archaeology, and Calligraphy.
The emirate between the two cultural capitals, Dubai, is now the Middle East centre for art traders and auction houses. Christie’s first opened a Dubai branch in 2006 and has in the 13 years since auctioned off more than $215 million worth of Middle Eastern and Islamic art.
So it doesn't come as a surprise that the Guggenheim has already started planning what its various exhibitions will look like when they launch.
The museum director revealed to Euro News that they will feature pieces from across the globe.
“We’ve been working with our colleagues here to put together what we think is really the first global collection after 1965,” he said. “We'll be seeing important examples of work from all parts of the world, mostly in the wake of Pop Art.”
Paintings and sculptures by younger artists will also be featured as part of the collections, with larger works being elevated for best effect.
“On the top floor, in particular, we expect to have very overscaled interesting works by the likes of James Turrell or Ernesto Neto or Monika Sosnowska from Poland,” Armstrong said.
Slowly but surely the UAE is making a name as a the region's preeminent arts hub that will attract talent and fans from around the world. We for one can't wait for that to happen.
*The opening date of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi was amended on request of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation.