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The Art Mill Museum in Qatar


Jul-14 19:36 first published at 19:36 PM

A variety of cultural activities are being launched by Qatar as it prepares for the Fifa football world cup in November in an effort to strengthen its position as a soft power. Importantly, more information has been made public about the significant institutions under construction, notably the Art Mill project, a sizable new modern and contemporary art venue slated for Doha. Opening is scheduled for 2030 at the facility, which will be housed in a former flour mill (the plan was first announced in 2015). According to a press release from Qatar Museums, Catherine Grenier, the director of the Fondation Giacometti in Paris, “developed the vision and the definition of the museum.” More than 120 pieces by the two artists were shown at the exhibition Picasso-Giacometti, which Grenier organized in 2017 at the Fire Station in Doha. Two locations, the Qatar Flour Mill Warehouse and Al Najada Heritage House #15, Doha, are set to host a preview exhibition dubbed Art Mill Museum 2030. (24 October-30 March 2023). The Art Mill Museum’s architecture, designed by Chilean company Elemental under the direction of Pritzker Prize–winning architect Alejandro Aravena, will be the main focus of the exhibition. The museum will hold an excellent and entirely worldwide collection that has been built over the previous 40 years with a wide range of transdisciplinary works, dating from 1830 to the present. In the meantime, late 2020 will see the appointment of Xavier Dectot, formerly of the Louvre-Lens museum in northern France, as director of the Lusail Museum, a second mega-museum in Qatar. In 2016, Dectot was named director of the art and design division of Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland. The statement continues, “home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of Orientalist paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, rare texts, and applied arts” will be the Lusail museum, created by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. The exhibition, which is based in Lusail, the hometown of Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed bin Thani, the founder of Qatar, will examine chance encounters and the extensive networks that connect the Indian Ocean World. More than 40 new and commissioned public pieces will be on display throughout Doha as part of a large public art initiative that complements the football games, Qatar Museums also revealed last year. These pieces will be on view “in a variety of public settings, including parks and shopping districts, educational and sporting facilities, Hamad International Airport and Q-Rail stations, as well as select stadiums that will host the World Cup Games.” The Museum of Islamic Art’s striking geometry as seen from the southwest. Islamic Art Museum, with permission In the meantime, a significant museum is being renovated. The IM Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in Doha will be rearranged with “new thematic interpretations.” Beginning on October 26 and running through February 25, 2023, the MIA will host an exhibition that traces the political and cultural history of Baghdad and include artifacts on loan from 22 lenders, including the Louvre in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The autumn cultural season is supported by an exhibition schedule at eight museums and galleries, including exhibits at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, honoring Gaza-born Taysir Batniji and Qatari-American artist Sophia Al-Maria (16 September-21 January). Forever Valentino will be hosted at the M7 venue (October–April 2023) as a surprise tribute to the Italian designer by Massimiliano Gioni, associate director and curator of exhibitions at the New Museum in New York, and the fashion critic Alexander Fury. Over the past two decades, Qatar has expanded its cultural offerings and launched a tremendously ambitious museum expansion program. The National Museum of Qatar, created for an undisclosed sum by French architect Jean Nouvel, opens its doors in 2019. Nevertheless, despite the cultural assault, Qatar has been accused of mistreating migrant laborers hired to construct the new football stadiums. The Qatari government claims that since implementing labor reforms in 2017, improvements have been made in how these workers are treated.

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