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Qatar Museums create outdoor art museum for World Cup 2022

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

Qatar Museums (QM) is transforming the nation’s landscape into a vast outdoor art museum experience, in celebration of the country hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022, that is set to be seen by ‘millions of visitors’.

Qatar Museums has begun to install more than 40 new and commissioned public artworks throughout the capital Doha and the rest of the country, in a variety of public spaces including stadiums that will host the World Cup Games, parks, shopping malls, educational and athletic facilities and the Hamad International Airport and Q-Rail stations.

It is working with various entities across the city on the public art programme including the airport, the Supreme Committee of Legacy and Delivery and the Public Works Authority.

Qatar Museums is a government cultural body that incorporates the Museum of Islamic Art, and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and other museum and heritage sites.

Sweeping outdoor museum

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

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.”

They feature celebrated Qatari, regional and international artist and will bring QM’s total number of public artworks to more than 100 making what it says is one of the most ambitious public art programmes in the world.

Expanded programme of public artworks

The expanded programme of public artworks began in July 2021with 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) bAmerican artist Mark Handforth in Msheireb, as part of Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture.

This autumn, German artist Katharina Fritsch’s newly commissioned iconic bright blue Hahn/Cock will be unveiled in a prominent location in Doha.

“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 programme. 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,” it said.

About the author – Adrian Murphy

Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.

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