A COLLABORATIVE PUBLICATION BETWEEN BROWNBOOK AND THE QATAR MUSEUMS AUTHORITY
EDITION 1 0F 8
Doha International Airport
The Pearl MUSEUM OF ISLAMIC ART
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF QATAR
QMA GALLERY at KATARA CULTURAL VILLAGE
Qatar National Convention Centre
MATHAF: ARAB MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
WELCOME In the middle of a Gulf-wide artistic and cultural expansion, Qatar is taking its place at the forefront. For the last 25 years the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) the governing body in Doha, have been building up their collection of 04
art acquisitions and now as the number of museum and gallery spaces grow, they are succeeding in instigating intelligent debate. Leading this development is Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. Chair of the
PICTURED Installation view of Cai Guo-Qiang’s 05
Flying Together a collection of life sized replicas of falcons and a camel
board of trustees and leading an accomplished team, she has managed over the last six years to make a significant impact on Qatar’s cultural landscape. Overseeing the numerous and high quality exhibition spaces is part of QMA’s remit in making the classic and contemporary art collection that Qatar now has accessible to the wider public. In line with the appointment of Edward Dolman, former Christie’s chairperson, who is now heading the authority and oversees the museums and cultural initiatives, we take an in-depth look at their progress. In this booklet, the first of eight of its kind, we catch up with Mathaf’s director, celebrate the opening of the recently opened park at the Museum of Islamic Art and witness the unveiling of Ego – an exhibition by the internationally renowned creative artist Takashi Murakami.
Pattern & Map Illustrator Aziza Iqbal
The Cai Guo-Qiang: Saraab exhibition on view now at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. December 5, 2011 - May 26, 2012
SUPER EGO 06
He’s a cultural commentator and one of the most establihed artists in Japan. Now Takashi Murakami will be exhibiting for the first time in the region with Ego - a partly retrospective show hosted by the Qatar Museums Authority. Curated by Massimiliano Gioni the show contains more than 60 previous pieces and several new works. Here he tells us about it:
Pom & Me, 2009-2010 Courtesy Galerie Perrotin, Paris © 2009-2010 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
in Doha and they are currently producing several unique projects and exhibitions. In 2012 Qatar will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its founding as a sovereign nation and I am extremely proud that my exhibition will be included in the many events to celebrate this significant milestone.
In Japan this year, as we were affected by a succession of tremendous natural disasters, we received great assistance from Qatar in the form of charitable donations. As an individual citizen of Japan, I will never forget the debt that we owe for this support. I am truly grateful from the bottom of my heart. As part of my coming solo show, I am in the process of preparing a 100 metre long painting, which came
In February of 2012, I will be opening a solo exhibition
as a revelation in the aftermath of those disasters.
at the new exhibition hall built by the Qatar Museums Authority in Doha, Qatar.
The painting will centre on the motif 500 Rakkan (stone statues) and feature 500 characters repre-
Last year, I held an exhibition at the Chateau de Ver-
senting the disciples of Buddha. It is my intention that
sailles which was generously sponsored by Her Ex-
this painting be an answer to the incredible help that
cellency Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa
we received from the Qatari people and the same ap-
Al-Thani and His Excellency Sheikh Jassem bin Ab-
plies to the entirety of the exhibition itself.
dulaziz bin Jassem Al Thani. The exhibition I now hold in Qatar was born from that series of events
In order to carry out this challenge, we have also
but it has now become imbued with its own original
enlisted the help of the new museum director Massi-
concept and is set to become my largest-scale solo
miliano Gioni, who can be credited for making a truly
show to date.
rock solid team.
At present, Qatar is giving its cultural development
Please look forward to this show, which is in many
a tremendous push and has dedicated an especially
ways the culmination of my life up until this point.
high amount of concentration and financial support to art. A truly distinguished group of artists has already been invited one after the other to exhibit
— Takashi Murakami Ego will be on view from February 9 to June 24 in the Al Riwaq exhibition hall, located on the grounds of the Museum of Islamic Art on Doha’s Corniche.
ART YOUR WAY 08
Director of Mathaf museum shares her plans to bring appreciation of contemporary art to the region
ing visitors to leave thoughts and reflections about what they experienced. Another corner houses a video booth where the willing can tape their reaction to wandering through the latest installation. These interactive touches distinguish this particular location and set Mathaf apart within the expanding QMA family of world-class exhibitions, programmes, and museums, designed as a diverse offering including national history, the aforementioned MIA and a sports museum. Each of these contributes to an overall art ecology which continues to emerge and develop in Qatar including museums, art schools, and galleries. 'We want to foster the production of original and new knowledge [about art],' Khudairi explains. One of the future plans is a research centre at Mathaf which will host academics, art historians and anthro-
The minimalist white exterior with an open floor plan
pologists. The Middle East region is the reference
and exposed piping is somewhat at odds with the
point for art at Mathaf and for artists practicing their
dusty swirls of desert outside its doors. It is also a
many forms; the formal opening last year saw Arab
far cry from the I.M. Pei designed Museum of Islamic
hip hop artists performing in the courtyard.
Art perched on a purpose-built island in the lapping
Future plans include offering resources for locals
waters of the Persian Gulf. But then Mathaf: the Arab
to consider developing their practice through art
Museum of Modern Art is a museum with a differ-
journals and providing inspiration by way of exhibits
ence. 'Art is not perceived through one channel,'
as well as encouraging people to be experimental.
says Wassan Al Khudairi, the museum’s director. 'It’s
'We want to open the aesthetic,' Khudairi tells us,
not just about what’s on a four by four canvas in a
'to help the people rethink what art is.' Upcoming
frame, it is about the whole experience. l and other
projects include the third annual collaboration with
people need to engage with and interpret what we
the Global Art Forum in March of this year which
offer. There isn’t just one lens.'
will host the first two days of their event at Mathaf
Through inclusivity the relatively young museum
before moving to Dubai for the annual art fair. These
doesn't just focus on connectivity and interaction,
are the kinds of partnerships that Khudairi sees
Mathaf fosters an interdisciplinary approach with
as key to developing an established platform for
programmes for artists to comment, engage and
regional conversation about art.
intervene in a diverse range of topics from urban
As the museum continues to expand, the direc-
development to education. The museum exhibitions
tor’s role remains a dynamic one with continuous
also attempt to create debate around the question of
shifts throughout the course of the day between the
what it means to an artist in the Arab world. ‘We see
right and left brains: from strategy and implementa-
our programmes as points of entry into the commu-
tion. Khudairi has to juggle social media, websites,
nity,’ Khudairi explains.
budgets, curating exhibitions and organising pro-
Getting people into galleries to experience and
gramme catalogues as well as of course, the day to
interpret art is central to Mathaf ethos. As such there
day running of the museum. ‘The key to our success
are notebooks dotted around each exhibit encourag-
thus far is the strength of our team,’ she says.
seum of Islamic Art and it has been very rewarding
IN THE PARK
Last month Doha’s Corniche welcomed a new 62-acre public space; it is set to transform the capital’s waterfront
Located on the grounds of the Museum of Islamic Art, a new public space has been developed with the focal point being a central sculpture plaza. In pride of place is a piece by Richard Serra titled 7; it is the artist’s first public work in the Middle East. Hosting year-round cultural, educational and recreational activities, the green space will add an
to fulfill this vision.’ The design of the park received its catalytic stimulus when Sheikha AlMayassa commissioned Richard Serra to create a monumental sculpture as a centerpiece of the park. ‘This may be the first time we have created sitespecific sculpture’ she says. ‘It has been fun (and an honour) to work with Serra.’ With the climate in Doha being the major challenge of developing such a park, Didi had to find materials and activities to overcome the environmental challenges. ‘We managed to create activity kiosks, including restaurants, dispersed throughout the park and give the opportunities for people to fly kites, go out in small pedal boats, picnic, and so on.
The Art Park was an integral part of my father’s vision for the MIA Chien Chung Pei
entertaining element to the ongoing emergence of art and culture in the capital, ‘it will be a dynamic place of learning and exploration for children, fami-
‘A small amphitheatre can be used for all kinds of
lies and art enthusiasts, with cultural, educational
performances and the kiosks are shielded from the
and recreational activities designed to attract one
daytime sun by large tents.
and all,’ says QMA Chairperson Her Excellency
‘The park design is generated from strongly geo-
Sheikha AlMayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani .
metric inclined planes of grass that will invite peo-
Like the Museum of Islamic Art itself, Richard Ser-
ple to sit and watch the activities, with the sculpture
ra’s sculpture will serve as a beacon for the arts in
dominating the peninsula by its height – 24 metres,
Qatar and will further the QMA’s mission to encour-
we worked closely with Serra to create a pier for his
age global cultural exchange and introduce the Doha
sculpture that appears to float effortlessly over the
community to artists from around the world.
water of Doha Bay,’ he continues.
Designed by architect Chien Chung Pei, also
With visually striking shapes in mind, the design of
known as Didi, son of world-renowned architect
grass planes are triangular with sharp and crisp edg-
I.M. Pei, he continued his father’s vision of develop-
es, while kiosks have patterns that provide screen-
ing the architecture in the Arab world, ‘the Art Park
ing with much of the Arabic design and are similarly
was an integral part of my father’s vision for the Mu-
based on geometry.’