07 March, 2007

More on the Abu Dhabi Louvre :: NYT

Flic posted yesterday on the Louvre coming to Abu Dhabi.

Here are some excerpts from the New York Times report:
What’s the price of a good name?How about a cool $520 million? That is the amount that Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, agreed Tuesday to pay to attach the Louvre’s name to a museum that it hopes to open in 2012. And there is more: in exchange for art loans, special exhibitions and management advice, Abu Dhabi will pay France an additional $747 million. Controversy over the Louvre Abu Dhabi has been swirling in France for the last three months, with critics charging that the French government is “selling” its museums. But only now have the full details of the nearly $1.3 billion package been disclosed.
Abu Dhabi has also agreed to make a direct donation of $32.5 million to the Louvre to refurbish a wing of the Pavillon de Flore for the display of international art.
This gallery, to be ready by 2010, will carry the name of Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan, the founder and longtime ruler of the United Arab Emirates, who died in 2004.
For a government-owned cultural institution in France to carry the name of a corporate or foreign donor is also a first and may well raise eyebrows here. In the past, for instance, the Louvre has turned down offers of financial help from philanthropists who asked that galleries be named after them in return.
In a telephone interview from Abu Dhabi, Mubarak Al-Muhairi, the deputy chairman of the emirate’s tourism authority, dismissed rumors that the new museum would reject loans or exhibitions from France including Christian religious art or depicting, say, nudity. “In principle, there are no restrictions,” he said, “but both sides will agree on what is shown.”

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