The Louvre will soon require a geotag to identify.
For over two centuries, the world-renowned museum has stood as a quintessential symbol of Paris, a landmark of such original grandeur that there could be no doubt over its location. All that will change at the end of this year, however, when the Louvre Abu Dhabi opens its doors in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
If the original Louvre is an architectural masterpiece of timeless, priceless French class, Abu Dhabi’s rendition is what would happen if someone threw the GDP of Belize at a project in the Middle Eastern desert 100 years from now.
Despite their vast differences in aesthetic, they two Louvres are linked in several ways. The city of Abu Dhabi paid $525 million USD to the Paris Louvre for the rights to name association, as well as $747 million for art loans, special exhibitions and management advice. Construction is expected to cost a relatively modest $130 million USD.
The design is essentially a UFO with a leaky roof, the work of renowned French architect Jean Nouvel. And it’s pretty damn spectacular. It covers 260,000 square feet and will showcase works from around the world that seek to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western art.
Unfortunately, Louvre II won’t come to fruition without controversy – conditions for migrants workers on the construction site have been called modern-day slavery, which is nothing new in the region, and there’s a general sense among esteemed museum experts that the deal represents the transformation of culture into a consumer product.
The new Louvre is currently being built on a man-made island that’s simultaneously under construction and would be totally insane if it weren’t completely standard by now to pull off this kind shi*t in the Emirates.