So we all know that I am fan of French culture- I mean that’s pretty much a given at this point right? So it was no surprise that I was over the moon, stars and all the galaxies when I learned that Abu Dhabi had commissioned only the second Louvre Museum in the world. The first of course being the famous “Musee de Louvre” in Paris which dates all the way back to 1793.
I have always had a love for art, fashion, color and creative expression and have found some of my best inspiration has come from visits to museums. So when the Abu Dhabi location opened its doors in early November 2017- I just had to be there, even if it was over a year later. Blame Carlos- he kept whining like a big baby about how I couldn’t go without him- and believe you and me, had I not waited for him, I would have been at the Grand Opening for sure. LOVE YA’ BABE. But he made it up to me by spending an afternoon amongst the some of the most cultured and legendary artists from around the world.
So what did ‘I love about the Louvre? Well first off- the architecture of the 260,000 square foot building is purely a work of art all its own. It rests afloat the beautiful waters of Saadiyat Island and resembles some sort of futuristic greenhouse means a Grecian amphitheatre of the past. As you peruse the structure and watch as tiny peaks of light peer into the museum- it appears to be the stuff magical dreams are made of, and at night creates a sort of constellation setting in the night sky. I would certainly sit out there all day and create (but only late September to early May- because the summers here are at times unbearable). You can check out video footage of the architecture of the Louvre here!
Designed by Jean Nouvel- who has constructed other famous French museums, it was rumored to have cost an estimated $692 million to build with an additional $525 million paid by Abu Dhabi just for the namesake and $747 million in art loans and special exhibitions. Not to mention it may be followed by the Guggenheim Museum. Abu Dhabi secured a 30 year deal to the rights with the French, stating that no other country, specifically Middle Eastern or Emirate can commission any structure under the name of the “Louvre”.
However, it has not been met without controversy. Many French believe that the name and reputation of the Louvre should not be sold or licensed for financial gain and that true French art and culture should not be sold as a consumer product as it dilutes its history, legacy and heritage. While others believe that it bridges cultures globally.
I also appreciated how each exhibition was segmented by geography from the Japanese collections to the Egyptian and told really great stories. For instance, check out the Japanese Connections exhibition, “The Birth of Modern Decor”, running until November 24th. Now what I didn’t like was how confusing it was at times to navigate your way through the museum. The maps were not as clear-cut in showcasing where each exhibition was and the floor staff wasn’t as knowledgable of the layout as I expected them to be.
I also didn’t care for how some people clearly lacked museum etiquette. I believe that museums should be respected in the same way as libraries. No loud talking, screaming and especially no running children. I think a level of respect and decency should be enforced by security and they should not only guard and protect the art, but the integrity of the museum and the experience of its visitors as well. But maybe that’s just my thought.
But on a more positive note- what I loved was not only the selection of art from all over- East to West but the interactive package we purchased. You are given a mini Ipad and headset by the staff and allowed to go on a self-guided tour.
Each piece has a number and if you type it in- it allows you to not only read information about the piece but to hear the history behind the piece which I found pretty cool.
I am a fan of abstract and contemporary art, so while I am looking forward to the launch of the Guggenheim, the Louvre overall was quite lovely and worth a visit. However I advise visiting during the off-season from June-September if you would like peace and quiet and don’t mind the heat. If visiting during regular season which is September- May, I suggest visiting first thing in the morning to beat the crowd. Let’s not forget to mention that they also have an on-site cafe and even serve gelato on the unbearably hot days.
Ok ok ok…so enough talking- lets get to the art.
No visit to a museum is complete without one piece from 1948 “Black and White” by famed American artist- Jackson Pollock.
Or this beautiful piece- “Chirisei Kyubiki” by Japanese artist, Kazuo Shiraga”
There was also a bold composition piece called- by Piet Mondrian. For my fashion history heads, we understand the importance and influence of Mondrian and the neoplasticism movement of over 100 years.
The originator of colorblocking- Mondrian influenced major luxury fashion houses and designers such as the late and legendary- YSL (Yves Saint Laurent) as well as Balmain and is continually being used a source of inspiration throughout the industry.
I also love when artists are creative with unorthodox items like this piece- “Roots” made from coaxial cable created in 1998 in Paris.
The exhibits included the Co-Lab– a collaborative art program between the Emirati and the French. Geared towards joint artistic mediums of manufacturers and artists, it is meant to showcase a “multisensory temporal experience“.
Then there was “Multiple Realities” by Wylie of South Africa. He took a photograph post-devastation of a tsunami and then beautifully blended together oil paint on canvas to create a piece of work that reflects amazing imagery. This piece reminded me of the Magic Eye books from my childhood, where you could look at one photo and yet see so many different things- hence the title “Multiple Realities”. Below shows an interactive breakdown of how the piece came together.
Then there was the “piece de resistance”- called the Fountain of Light- an amazing crystal light sculpture. The photo does not give justice to this German gem. The sparkle, the light and the brightness was illuminating across the entire room. Check out video footage of the magic here. Fast forward to :30 for clearest view.
As we approached the end of our tour- I took note of quotes printed on the windows of the museum that really resonated with me.
Overall, the visit to the Louvre was an afternoon of the things I love, from art to culture, history to fashion and I look forward to future visits with the roll out of new exhibitions and installations…at least until we make it to Paris. For more information on the Louvre check out https://www.louvreabudhabi.ae/ to “see humanity in a new light”.
Au Revoir (for now)