Louvre Abu Dhabi’s preview experience, a popular and critical success, open for final week

Published August 26th, 2009 - 12:52 GMT

Louvre Abu Dhabi’s preview experience, a popular and critical success, open for final week
Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi Concludes on August 29,
Having Surpassed All Goals

After a widely reported opening on 26 May 2009, in the presence of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic, and following a subsequent extension of its showing to accommodate public demand, Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi will close on 29 August. Over the past three months, more than 5,000 visitors of all ages have visited Gallery One of Emirates Palace for this 90-minute preview experience of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Presented by Tourism Development & Investment Company, Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi has featured a brief film about the design for the museum by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel; an illustrated talk about the concept of the Louvre Abu Dhabi; and a guided tour of artworks specially chosen to demonstrate the museum’s curatorial vision. Among these were the first works acquired for the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s own developing collection, ranging in date from the 6th century BC to the early 20th century and in place of origin from China to France.

“Our purpose in offering this preview experience was to introduce people to both the art and the ideas of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, as an exciting new universal museum created in Abu Dhabi,” stated Mubarak Hamad Al Muhairi, Managing Director of TDIC. “After the overwhelming response we received, we can say that Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi has succeeded even beyond our high expectations, reaching the public both here and abroad with our message of world-class arts programming and innovative cultural exchange.”

Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi received international acclaim upon its opening. “It’s no longer a dream,” stated the Paris newspaper Les Echos about the project for the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The preview “embodies the ambition of the future Louvre Abu Dhabi ‘to create bridges between our peoples,’” reported Le Monde. The New York Times noted that the developers of the museum “are not out to create a mini-Louvre but rather a new museum melding two cultures and two traditions.”

Participants in the preview experience responded with equal enthusiasm. Surveys conducted by TDIC revealed that 93% of visitors gave Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi their highest rating for satisfaction. Of particular note was the popularity of the experience with younger people (almost half of the visitors were under the age of 30) and with women (approximately 70% of visitors were female). While a broad range of nationalities participated in the experience, the great majority were residents of Abu Dhabi itself—evidence that Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi succeeded in one of its most important goals, that of building interest and support within the Emirate itself.

“The public’s response to Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi was tremendous,” stated Rita Aoun Abdo, TDIC’s Director for Culture and Arts. “We were particularly excited by the extraordinary turnout for the educational events, such as the roundtable discussions, the briefing for teachers, and the children’s workshops. We look forward to continuing to provide exceptional cultural and educational opportunities leading up to the opening of the first museums in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District in 2012/2013.”


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