Stephanie Rosenthal has been appointed Project Director of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum

The much-anticipated Abu Dhabi Museum in the Guggenheim has announced a new project director. Stephanie Rosenthal will oversee the final stages of construction for the UAE Museum – nearly 20 years after plans were first revealed, and 14 years after construction first began.

Rosenthal has served as Director of Gropius Bau in Berlin, Germany, since 2018 having spent the past 10 years as Chief Curator of the Hayward Gallery in London. It will officially begin its new role in the Middle East in September, and will jointly run the Frank Gehry-designed institution in the lead up to its opening, currently scheduled for 2025.

In a statement to art newspaperRosenthal pledged to make the museum “one of the most progressive institutions of the twenty-first century.”

The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum is being built on Saadiyat Island, along with several other cultural institutions including the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Courtesy of TDIC and Jerry Partners, LLP

But Rosenthal will have to deal with the United Arab Emirates in a state of political and societal upheaval caused by the death of the Emir of Abu Dhabi and President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, at the age of 73. Sheikh Khalifa served as the President of the United Arab Emirates. Since 2004 and with his brother Sheikh Mohammed bin ZayedAnd The country has paid significant investments in culture and heritage. The Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, an arm of his government, is centrally involved in building the museum, which has been damaged by delays throughout its construction.

Rosenthal will lead the project’s leadership team, working with her counterpart, Maysa Al Qassimi, Acting Director of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi who has been appointed by the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism.

Rosenthal will also be tasked with maintaining and developing the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi International Collection, which aims to create “a new understanding of art history,” the museum said in a statement. The group will primarily focus on businesses from West Asia, North Africa and South Asia.

Constellation of Guggenheim directors (from left): Juan Ignacio Vidarte, Guggenheim Bilbao director; Carol Vail, director of the Peggy Guggenheim Group in Venice; Maysa Al Qasimi, Acting Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project Manager; and Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation in New York

Rosenthal adds: “Leading an institution at the so-called Center of the World is an unmissable opportunity to bring out new and cutting-edge perspectives on art and society. Continuing to build a group centered in this region is one of the most exciting responsibilities I can imagine. Together with Maysa Al Qasimi and an exceptional team of local and international colleagues, we will deliver one of the most progressive institutions of the 21st century. My goal is to create an inclusive organization that is truly rooted in the region, and can grow into one of the most important worldwide.”

cultural destination

Once complete, the Abu Dhabi outpost will cover 42,000 square metres, making it the largest of the four Guggenheim outposts, surpassing the massive Guggenheim Bilbao, also designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry and first opened in 1997.

The Abu Dhabi Museum is being built on Saadiyat Island, a new cultural district off the coast of the emirate. Once completed, it will surely be one of the most important museum and architecture districts in the world. The Guggenheim Museum Abu Dhabi will share the island with the Louvre Abu Dhabi, built by French architect Jean Nouvel – the first time the Louvre has established an institution outside of France.

Zayed National Museum, a design by British architecture firm Foster + Partners, is also under construction there, as is a new arts center designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. The Abrahamic Family House, a multi-faith complex consisting of a synagogue, mosque, and church, all designed by Adjaye Associates, is close by.

%d bloggers like this: