On the Ground : 'Birth of a Museum' in Abu Dhabi, 2013

  Model of Saadiyat Island Cultural District. The completed cultural district will include the Zayed National Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Maritime Museum, and a Performing Arts Centre. The district already includes the Manarat Al Saadiyat (open since 2009) and the UAE Pavilion (2011). Photo: Lucy Rees

 

Model of Saadiyat Island Cultural District. The completed cultural district will include the Zayed National Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Maritime Museum, and a Performing Arts Centre. The district already includes the Manarat Al Saadiyat (open since 2009) and the UAE Pavilion (2011). Photo: Lucy Rees

I recently attended the opening of the much anticipated exhibition, “Birth of a Museum,” on April 22, 2013 in the galleries of Manarat Al Saadiyat - the exhibition centre on Saadiyat island where the Louvre Abu Dhabi is currently under construction.

It is the first large-scale presentation of a selection of the museum’s permanent collection. Divided into 10 thematic sections, on display are 130 of the 460 artworks already acquired. 

Following a number of delays and setbacks with the museum’s construction, the exhibition gives the viewer a hint of what is being created prior to the museum’s actual opening in 2015.

Designed by Jean Nouvel, the construction of the building began in 2009 and was initially expected to open in 2012. HE Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, says the exhibition aims “to evoke the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s ambiance and aesthetics, and to begin to tell the story of the birth of this museum.” 

The exhibition runs from April 22 - 20 July 2013 in Abu Dhabi and will then be presented at the Louvre Paris in October 2013.

  HE Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, HE Zaki Nusseibeh, Adviser Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Rita Aoun-Abdo, Executive Director, Culture Sector, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority. Photo: Lucy Rees

 

HE Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, HE Zaki Nusseibeh, Adviser Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Rita Aoun-Abdo, Executive Director, Culture Sector, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority. Photo: Lucy Rees

Standing outside the Manarat Al Saadiyat. Photo: Lucy Rees

Standing outside the Manarat Al Saadiyat. Photo: Lucy Rees

UAE Nationals and diplomats line up for the “Birth of a Museum” opening, Abu Dhabi. Photo: Lucy Rees.

UAE Nationals and diplomats line up for the “Birth of a Museum” opening, Abu Dhabi. Photo: Lucy Rees.

  Pablo Picasso, Portrait of a Lady, 1928. A practically unknown work, it has never been exhibited before, and only mentioned in A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years 1917-1932 by John Richardson. It was purchased by the Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2012. Photo: Lucy Rees

 

Pablo Picasso, Portrait of a Lady, 1928. A practically unknown work, it has never been exhibited before, and only mentioned in A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years 1917-1932 by John Richardson. It was purchased by the Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2012. Photo: Lucy Rees

Architect Jean Nouvel and friend at the exhibition opening. Photo: Lucy Rees.

Architect Jean Nouvel and friend at the exhibition opening. Photo: Lucy Rees.

Opening night at the Manarat al Saadiyat exhibition centre. Photo: Lucy Rees

Opening night at the Manarat al Saadiyat exhibition centre. Photo: Lucy Rees

Bactrian Princess. Central Asia, late third millennium BCE – early second millennium. Chlorite for the body and headdress, calcite for the face. 25cm. 

Bactrian Princess. Central Asia, late third millennium BCE – early second millennium. Chlorite for the body and headdress, calcite for the face. 25cm. 

Birth of a Museum, Vernissage.

Birth of a Museum, Vernissage.

Read my article about the exhibition in Flash Art International here