Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art | Qatar | Jean Nouvel

It is going to be a while before Jean Nouvel’s celebrated National Museum of Qatar blossoms in the desert. But in the meanwhile, an architecturally modest museum with a far more ambitious mission is ready to open its doors for the New Year. The Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art aims to be a new pan-Arab center for culture and creativity, showcasing the work of modern artists from the region. The Mathaf, pronounced MAT-haff and simply meaning “museum” in Arabic, is the third large museum project to be announced in Qatar in recent years. The expansive Museum of Islamic Art, which opened in 2008 in a building by I. M. Pei, is concerned with history – its collection dates from the 7th to the 19th centuries. Jean Nouvel’s desert rose will mostly be a Qatari exercise in national pride. The earliest pieces in the Mathaf’s collection, however, date to the 1840s. This is a museum primarily concerned with Arab modernity, considering through art some very complicated questions of identity, values and geography.....more
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