Abu Dhabi to Get A Louvre, Two

Everyone knows how beautiful the artwork inside Paris’ Louvre is. However, since not everyone can travel to Paris, wouldn’t it be cool if the Louvre could “franchise” itself so people the world over could enjoy the pieces? Guess what? Yesterday, France’s culture minister confirmed that he will approve the construction of a satellite museum in Abu Dhabi: a Louvre 2.

Experts have estimated the multi-faceted deal — which calls for the Louvre to lend its name, expertise, and some of its art to the branch in the United Arab Emirates — could be worth as much as $1 billion to France. While critics charge that France is trading its heritage for profit, the director of that country’s national museum service said France has an obligation to share its art treasures with the world.

Abu Dhabi is in the midst of creating a $27-billion “cultural district” on Saadiyat Island, hoping to attract prestigious art museums and turn the city into a tourist destination. So far, the only other group to sign on is the Guggenheim, which is in the midst of building a $400-million museum on Saadiyat.

[Photo: Bonita711]