An early look at Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Modern Art, in Qatar
Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Modern Art, is set to open Dec. 30 in Doha, Qatar, and it's safe to say that it's one of the most eagerly awaited new museums of the year.
The Times' Babylon & Beyond blog provides an early look at the unique institution that is backed by Qatari royal Sheik Hassan bin Mohammad bin Ali al Thani, who is also vice president of the Qatar Museum Authority.
As its name suggests, the museum's focus will be on contemporary art, with many of the works on display dating from the 20th century. The new facility, which is a former school that has been converted by the French architect Jean-Francois Bodin, will also serve as a research center for artists and art students.
The museum's inaugural exhibition, titled "Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art," will feature works from Mathaf's permanent collection of more than 6,000 pieces, all of which were donated from Sheik Hassan's private collection.
The new museum is one of a few to be opening in the Middle East, which has emerged as a hot spot for the international art scene. The Museum of Islamic Art opened in Doha in 2008, and branches of the Guggenheim and the Louvre will be built in neighboring Abu Dhabi.
-- David Ng
Photo: A rendering of the Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Modern Art, which will be housed in a converted school. Credit: Mathaf, Arab Museum of Modern Art