A showcase of middle-eastern art and culture, Abu Dhabi’s newest art museum will be the largest Guggenheim collection in the world. Located just offshore of the city on Saadiyat Island, the museum will host collections of art with a focus on Islamic culture. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will open its doors to art lovers later this year.
The museum and its programs promote art appreciation among locals and visitors to Abu Dhabi. Curators are planning hands-on activities for children and adults to foster themes of cultural discovery and transcultural partnerships. In an exhibit planned for the museum’s debut, visitors will discover art and culture from the modern era, with a focus on pieces from North Africa and the Middle East, along with Asian elements: a display of the historical elements that have come together in the United Arab Emirate’s cultural identity.
The 450,000 square foot building, designed by Frank Gehry, will be situated on a peninsula on Saadiyat Island, surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Persian Gulf. It will house galleries, spaces for education and research, an art conservation laboratory, and a center for art and technology.
The building’s unique design reflects traditional middle-eastern architecture, featuring covered courtyards and catwalks that use natural shade and wind cooling effects to increase the building’s energy efficiency. Joining the Guggenheim collections in New York, Guadalajara, Bilbao, Berlin, and more, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will become a jewel of the United Arab Emirates tourism and cultural programs.
In advance of the museum’s opening, curators recently hosted an exhibition of artwork from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s collection. The Creative Act: Performance, Process, Presence featured films, sculptures, paintings, performances and more to give participants a taste of what is to come when the museum officially opens later this year.