Qatar Museums to Transform Nation into Outdoor Art Museum With Over 40 Newly-Installed Public Works By Artists From Louise Bourgeois to Bruce Nauman

  • November 17, 2021 19:42

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Tom Claassen’s monumental sculpture Falcon (2021) outside the Hamad International Airport. Courtesy of Qatar Museums

Qatar Museums (QM) has announced plans to transform the nation’s landscape into a vast outdoor art museum experience in celebration of Qatar’s hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022 Games. Beginning now and continuing until the opening of the World Cup in November 2022, Qatar Museums will install more than 40 new and commissioned public artworks throughout Doha and the nation, in a variety of public spaces including parks and shopping areas, educational and athletic facilities, Hamad International Airport and Q-Rail stations, as well as select stadiums that will host the World Cup Games. Qatar Museums is working with various entities across the city on Qatar’s public art programme including the Hamad International Airport, the Supreme Committee of Legacy and Delivery, and the Public Works Authority (Ashghal).

Untitled (Trench, Shafts, Pit, Tunnel and Chamber) (1978) by Bruce Nauman outside of M7 in Msheireb Downtown Doha. Courtesy of Qatar Museums.

Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, said: “The enrichment of Qatar’s public spaces by extraordinary artworks by artists of all nationalities and backgrounds is a point of pride for our nation. I hope these outstanding artworks will be enjoyed as a sweeping outdoor museum experience by our local community as well as the millions of visitors we expect to welcome to Doha in 2022 from the moment they arrive at Hamad International Airport.”

Featuring celebrated Qatari, regional and international artists, the new installations, most of which have been commissioned, will bring QM’s total number of public artworks to more than 100 making this one of the most ambitious public art programmes in the world. Qatari and MENA region artists to be represented include Adel Abidin, Mohammed Al-Ateeq, Ahmed Al Bahrani, Shouq Al-Mana, Shua’a Al Muftah, Salman Al-Malik, Monira al Qadiri, Faraj Daham, Simone Fattal, and Wafeeqa Sultan. International artists include Daniel Arsham, Tom Claassen, Shezad Dawood, Olafur Eliasson, Katherina Fritsch, Isa Genzken, Shilpi Gupta, Subodh Gupta, Mark Handforth, Jitish Kallat, Bruce Nauman, Ernesto Neto, and Faye Toogood.

The expanded program of public artworks began in July 2021 with the installation of Tom Claassen’s monumental sculpture Falcon (2021) outside the Hamad International Airport, Untitled (Trench, Shafts, Pit, Tunnel and Chamber) (1978) by American artist Bruce Nauman outside of M7 in Msheireb Downtown Doha and Two Orchids (2015) by Isa Genzken outside of the National Theater. Other recent installations include Spooning (2009) by Indian artist Subodh Gupta at M7 and Turquoise City (2021) by American artist Mark Handforth in Msheireb, as part of Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture. Later this fall, German artist Katharina Fritsch’s newly commissioned iconic bright blue Hahn/Cock will be unveiled in a prominent location in Doha.

Two Orchids (2015) by Isa Genzken outside of the National Theater. Courtesy of Qatar Museums

With the goal of making art part of everyday life, Qatar became one of the first countries in the Gulf to create a comprehensive contemporary public art program. To date, the program has grown to encompass around 70 works by more than 60 artists from Qatar, across the Middle East and around the world. Current highlights include East/West-West/East by Richard Serra in Zekreet, A Blessing in Disguise by Ghada Al Khater at the Fire Station, Flag of Glory by Ahmed Al Bahrani at the National Museum of Qatar, Untitled (Lamp/Bear) by Urs Fischer at Hamad International Airport, Gandhi’s Three Monkeys by Subodh Gupta at Katara Cultural Village, Maman by Louise Bourgeois at the Qatar National Convention Centre, The Miraculous Journey by Damien Hirst at Sidra Medical Centre, Bench by Saloua Raouda Choucair at MIA Park, Flying Man by Dia al-Azzawi at Hamad International Airport, and many others.

QM’s public art program also supports a variety of initiatives to engage people in Qatar with contemporary artists.


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