Louvre Abu Dhabi prepares to unveil itself to the world

Source: Associated Press

By JON GAMBRELL

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Stepping into the Louvre Abu Dhabi, one of the first artworks a visitor sees is a two-headed Neolithic statue from Jordan, one of the oldest known in human history.

That duality — looking back and toward the future, encompassing both East and West — is a theme that extends throughout the new museum, which is opening to the public on Saturday after a decade of delays and questions over laborers’ rights.

The conservative mores of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates that’s more buttoned-up than freewheeling Dubai, can be seen in the relative absence of pieces depicting nudity. Still, artwork at the new Louvre offers a brief history of the world and its major religions, not shying away from Judaism in a country that officially does not recognize Israel.

“Here at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, we’ve accomplished history,” Mohamed Khalifa al-Mubarak, the chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, said at a ceremony for journalists on Monday. “This museum is a lot more than just a museum.”

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