The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is on track to open its doors in 2025, according to the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.
Designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, who is also behind the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the UAE site is set to be the latest and largest outpost of the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation’s list of international museums.
The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi was first announced in 2006, and was initially meant to welcome visitors by 2012. The museum’s completion date was later pushed to 2017.
The museum aims to present global modern and contemporary art, said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi.
He said the museum will “play a civic role through its mission to spark wider interest in global modern and contemporary art” and will be an “equitable platform for art from all over the world”.
“As we move forward with our plans, it is crucial to recognise the impact of this museum in realising our vision for the emirate’s culture and creative industries. Investing in these industries is pivotal to the economic development of our emirate, and to our contribution to the global art world,” said Al Mubarak.
Richard Armstrong, director of the Guggenheim Museum, called the announcement “a significant milestone in the realisation of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi”.
Armstrong said that the museum will house “an expansive and evolving collection of artworks that advance multiple perspectives on the global histories of modern and contemporary art, with a particular focus on art from West Asia, North Africa and South Asia”.
The Gehry-designed Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will cover 30,000 square metres, with its gallery spaces spread across four levels linked by glass bridges, with a central atrium at its core.
Despite the absence of a physical structure, the museum has been building its collection over the past few years, including acquiring a film commission by artist Sarah Morris.
It has also presented exhibitions in Abu Dhabi in 2014 and 2017. The former, titled Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection, featured works by Dan Flavin, Douglas Wheeler, Keith Sonnier, Bharti Kher, Rachid Koraichi and Yayoi Kusama. The latter, The Creative Act: Performance, Process, Presence, included Anish Kapoor’s large-scale installation My Red Homeland. Over the past year, the museum has also organised various virtual programmes.
When completed, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will join Louvre Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat and Berklee Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island, where the capital aims to build an arts and culture cluster.