Here’s a really good post about Abu Dhabi‘s new Jean Nouvel-designed Louvre by critic Philip Kennicott. Check out this great paragraph:
The “crossroads” of civilization is as valid (and empty) a conceit for Abu Dhabi as it is for any other country located on or near a major trade route. But like Dubai, its more extravagant neighbor, Abu Dhabi isn’t really a crossroads at all. Although they are strategically placed along well-traveled sea routes that brought East and West together for millennia, the Emirates today are merely destinations for the wealthy, who can live and play there with a strange, denatured insularity. Despite their efforts to host international book fairs and arts festivals, there’s very little real or permanent depth of intellectual or creative culture in the Emirates. That’s not to say that there aren’t a lot of creative people there, but it remains a very commercial culture, and a rather decadent one too. And little of the imported international culture intersects with the local Emirates culture, which remains curiously elusive.
Among the treasures that will be on display in Abu Dhabi are two Manets (“Still Life With Bag and Garlic” & “The Bohemian,” pictured below) and Mondrian’s Composition With Blue, Red, Yellow and Black, which was snagged from Christie’s Yves St-Laurent sale last February.
For more info on the Abu Dhabi Louvre:
Top: A computer image of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel. The building is expected to cost about $108 million to build, and will include art from all eras and regions, including Islamic art. (via NYTimes)
Bottom: Manet’s “The Bohemian” (via NYTimes).