The Rise and Fall of Qatar's Art Scene
Editor's Note: American ingenuity after being played by OPEC finds its first casualty. Remember the indigenous oil companies that used to print money based upon western oil company prospecting, the United States invented the petroleum industry in the American Civil War, recall Edwin Drake active in Pennsylvania circa 1860.
In a detailed report on Quartz, former Qatar Museums employee Mikolai Napieralski details the rise and fall of the art scene in Qatar, outlining the cultural and financial forces that were behind the trophy art acquisitions and breakneck pace in building museums.
The glossy push for art and design acquisitions largely began in the mid-2000s. The royal family’s vast wealth enabled it to enlist the services of “starchitect” I.M. Pei to design the Museum of Islamic Art, as well as to back major exhibitions of artists including Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami,Richard Serra, and Louise Bourgeois, among others. The Qatari family was reportedly the buyer behind both Paul Cezanne’s The Card Players, for $250 million in 2012, and Paul Gauguin‘s When Will You Marry, sold for a reported $300 million in 2015—two of the most expensive art deals in history—though the works have never actually been openly displayed in the country.
But this push for modern and contemporary art wasn’t without obstacles in an extremely conservative culture. For instance........
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