The United Arab Emirates will soon have the largest Guggenheim museum to be built. The New York based Guggenheim Foundation currently has museums in New York, Bilbao, Venice, Berlin, and Las Vegas.
The American architect Frank Gehry will build Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (GAD) which will be located on a Gulf island (Saadiyat) near the United Arab Emirates capital. It is expected to be 30,000 square meters or 322,800 square feet and will be completed within five years.
The interesting thing about such a grand museum for contemporary art is that there will be no nudes or works that are confrontational in any way, which includes works of a religious nature. I don’t think it’s a major issue, just different to museums in other countries.
I remember stopping at the airport in the UAE and flicking through the art magazines to discover that all the nudes had been blacked out with a marker. I’m not sure if it still happens, but I remember thinking I would hate to have the job of going through every magazine to check for nudes to cover over!
The heated toilets at the airport made up for it though. They were really quite impressive!
Biggest Guggenheim museum to be built on UAE island
All works to go on display at the museum will “respect Abu Dhabi’s culture and national and Islamic heritage,” the foundation said in a statement. “Our objective is not to be confrontational, but to be engaged in a cultural exchange,” said Thomas Krens when asked how the boldness of contemporary art can be reconciled with conservative Muslim values” Yahoo News
There’s more about the issue over at the Articulate blog too.