Accepted Paper:

Material Culture in the Louvre Abu Dhabi: Museological and Art Historical Perspectives  

Authors:

Sabrina DeTurk (Zayed University Dubai)
Sarina Wakefield (University of Leicester)

Paper short abstract:

The Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opened in November 2017, has positioned itself as the first universal museum within the Middle East. This paper, taking a museological and art historical perspective, seeks to explore how the Louvre Abu Dhabi attempts to de-center and re-define how the art historical canon has played out within the collection.

Paper long abstract:

The Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opened in November 2017, has positioned itself as the first universal museum within the Middle East. The museum has sought to re-frame the way in which it engages with and presents its ‘universal’ narrative to its many publics through what might be termed a more global approach to art history. The concept of global art history has been circulating in academic circles for some years and has yielded a range of books and articles questioning how the traditional art historical canon might be disrupted, or at least re-envisioned, to give greater prominence to the arts of the non-Western world. In its quest to help visitors ‘see humanity in a new light’ the Louvre Abu Dhabi similarly attempts to create a new approach to museum curation, by placing objects from similarly time periods but diverse cultures together in its galleries. This paper, taking a museological and art historical perspective, seeks to explore how the Louvre Abu Dhabi attempts to de-center and re-define how the art historical canon has played out within the collection. While the Louvre Abu Dhabi includes objects from around the globe, the paper will critically explore how the material culture on and from the Middle East is represented and how this relates to the dominant global discourse of the museum. In addition, the paper will discuss how the material culture of the Global South have begun to re-shape the geographies of art by challenging traditional paradigms of aesthetics and connoisseurship.

Panel P034
Cultural Professional Practice in the Age of Globalisation