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  • GUGGENHEIM ABU DHABI MUSEUM

  • GUGGENHEIM ABU DHABI MUSEUM

  • ABU DHABI, UAE

    tts been three years since Abu Dhabi and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation signed an agreement to establish a world-class museum devoted to contemporary art in the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum will be located in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District, a growing nexus for culture and education. Designed by internation-ally renowned architect Frank Gehry to be the largest Guggenheim museum yet, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum will offer locals and visitors in this region of the world a space to engage in conversation about contemporary art.

    In 2009, the primary focus of the project was the rapid development of Gehrys design for the building. Many Guggenheim New York and Guggenheim Bilbao staff provided extensive review and commentary regarding the opera-tional and programmatic implications of the buildings design in workshops and meetings throughout the year. By year-end, 100% Schematic Design and 25% Design Development were issued, the former establishing the architec-tural concept, scale and design of the building; the latter further refining the buildings design, which included detailed floor plans and specification of building materials.

    Richard Armstrong delivered the first major presentation of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museums collection strategy in November. Additionally, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, in collaboration with the tourism Development & Investment Company (tDIC), successfully held their first art exhibition under the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi name. the Guggenheim: the Making of a Museum inaugurated a program of art and cultural develop-ment leading up to the opening of the newest addition to the Guggenheims global network. the exhibition included more than 50 major paintings from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum collection, representing the work of more than 40 of the most important artists of the 20th century. the exhibi-tion also served as an opportunity for both the Guggenheim and tDIC to conduct extensive tour guide training for visitor services staff. Presented under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the show set the tone for future collaboration between the Guggenheim and Abu Dhabi.

    Significant educational programming was developed in conjunction with the exhibition, which included curator-led tours and family workshops for children. Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation staff led public discussions on the history of the Guggenheim and the legacy of collectors and patronage in modern art, which coincided with the inaugural Abu Dhabi Art launched during the same period. Education will continue to play a key role in the development of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum.

    Looking to the year ahead, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Projects priorities will be to further develop curatorial content, initiate operational business, and begin construction. the Guggenheim Foundation is excited about what is to come over the next few years.

    PRoGRESS REPoRt

  • in developmentABU DHABI

  • ABU DHABI, UAE HIGHLIGHtS

    clockwise, from left The Guggenheim: The Making of a Museum; Saadiyat Island Cultural District Exhibition; tour and Workshop program; visitor services staff in training.

    HIGHLIGHtS

  • 112

    the guggenheim: the mAking of A museum novembeR 17, 2009febRuARy 4, 2010organized by Susan Davidson, Senior Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, and Valerie Hillings, Associate Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Guggenheim: The Making of a Museum was the first exhibition to be organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in collaboration with tourism Development and Investment Company (tDIC) as part of a program of art and cultural devel-opment leading up to the opening of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum and under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.

    sAAdiyAt islAnd cultuRAl distRict eXhibitionSaadiyat Island Cultural District Exhibition gave a glimpse of the future cultural plans for Abu Dhabi. the exhibition showcased the architectural designs and concepts behind museums such as Zayed National Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum. A catalogue was created for the exhibition, which took place at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi.

    educAtionIn late fall of 2009, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundations Education department presented a panel discussion, From Private to Public: Patronage and the Museum in the Modern Era. Participants included Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation; Bruce Altshuler, Director of the Program in Museum Studies at New York University; Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson, both Chicago-based collectors; and Anthony doffay, founder of Anthony doffay Gallery in London. Assistant Curator of the Guggenheim Museum Karole Vail also gave a lecture entitled Founding Visions for Museums in the 20th and 21st Century, which traced the Guggenheims origins and history.

    tour and Workshop Programs for both children and families began with a guided thematic tour of The Guggenheim: The Making of a Museum that featured gallery activities and lively conversations. Program participants were then led to the workshop to create their own artwork using a variety of materials. Programs were taught in English with simultaneous translation to Arabic. Programs were designed to encourage experimentation and creativ-ity, and to develop critical-thinking skills. Programs took place at Gallery one, Emirates Palace.

    Prior to the exhibition opening, Kim Kanatani, along with Valerie Hillings, Susan Davidson, and Sylviane De Roquebrune, provided training for tDIC visitor services staff to facilitate tours in the gallery spaces.

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