The juggernaut that is the Louvre Abu Dhabi commences this week with the groundbreaking and should end some time in 2013 when the first 29 works unveiled are joined by many more. The Los Angeles Times Culture Monster blog has some of the images of complex:
Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the civic area will span 260,000 square feet and comprise pavilions, plazas, canals and alleyways. (About 65,000 square feet will be dedicated to exhibitions.) A dome 590 feet in diameter will hover over much of the complex.
Meanwhile, The National in UAE tackles some questions about the region’s mores and the potential for religious or political interference. But Rita Aoun-Abdo, director of the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), describes the museum as “beyond censorship.”
“There hasn’t been anything like this in any other museum, and it is not pretension to say that,” Ms Aoun-Abdo said. “This museum will not be a replica of the Louvre in Paris. It will be a crossroads of civilisations. It will explore the connection between artistic expression in different countries.”
“The spirit of the museum is based in universality and is against unilateralism,” she said. “Among other things, it will marry European enlightenment with an Arab soul. But Abu Dhabi wants an international standard of museum and we are beyond censorship.
“We want teachers to come in, grasp it, and spread the word,” she said. “We have started acquiring a permanent collection for the Louvre and TDIC is working to develop all the other institutions to provide all the services for visitors and new kinds of city resident, such as students at the new international universities. There is a renaissance in all domains.”
Construction Begins on Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi (Culture Monster/LA Times)
Museum’s Goal: Universality of Art (The National)