The Louvre Abu Dhabi and the 21st Century Art Museum
Free Public Lecture
Forum Lecture Theatre
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The Louvre Abu Dhabi is scheduled to open its doors to the public in November 2017 following 10 years of planning and development. One of the most high-profile and eagerly anticipated international museum projects of the past 50 years, this initiative has the potential to redefine what we mean by a public art museum in the 21st century.
The modern art museum was launched during the Enlightenment as a space to ‘ennoble’ the citizens of the state by bringing them into contact with the great achievements of artistic and cultural expression. Though founded on the ideal of a supposedly ‘universal survey’ of culture, in practice this has always meant that museums have reinforced a peculiarly Western notion of cultural distinction from Ancient Greece through to the European Renaissance and so on.
Now, thanks to a ground-breaking partnership between the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the French Government, a new type of ‘universal museum’ is set to rise in the rapidly emerging cultural landscape of the United Arab Emirates.
This lecture will seek to situate the Louvre Abu Dhabi project in its historical and museological contexts with a particular focus on the new concept of a ‘global vision of the history of world art’ that will be displayed within the galleries of Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi when it opens at the end of this year.
Christopher R Marshall is Associate Professor in Art History and Museum Studies at the University of Melbourne.