Can Abu Dhabi Become The Arab World’s Arts Center?

The city of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, is planning a major cultural building boom, with designs underway for a Guggenheim outpost, a performing arts center, and at least two other museums. “With once-proud cities like Beirut and Baghdad ripped apart by political conflict bordering on civil war, Abu Dhabi offers the hope of a major realignment, a chance to plant the seeds for a fertile new cultural model in the Middle East. It’s easy to be skeptical. But judging by the designs released so far, the buildings promise to be more than aesthetic experiments, outlining a vision of cross-cultural pollination.”