The Louvre Abu Dhabi
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is one of the coolest art museums I have ever visited, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring it with my family earlier this Fall. While the Uffizi still exists as my all time favorite. The Louvre dazzles with interesting architecture and cool exhibits. The architecture feels fresh and on point - a testament to the branding direction of Abu Dhabi being a Neo-Arabic magnet for business, logistics, art, finance, et al.
Approaching the Louvre, you can feel the open expanse of once desert around you. They did not place the museum downtown or in a heavily developed area, instead opting for a spot on the western edge of Saadiyat Island in the aptly named "cultural district."
The benefit to museums in new cities where sandy land is inexpensive and expansive is that you get to appreciate a level of architectural design that is not constricted by geographical space, leading to dramatic walkways and the general drama of space. This is missing in cramped and sometimes subterranean museums like the Paris Louvre and Prado. The drama of the Louvre Prado leans heavily on the use of space.
Even some of the exhibits toy with this theme of using space for drama.
My favorite exhibit at Louvre AD was the Manga lab, which was a sort of paean to Japanese manga and old school video games. It was heavenly, and I spent about 30 minutes getting my ass kicked by Kid Niki bosses.
One of the cooler experiences at the Manga Lab involved strapping on a VR helmet and exploring old Hokusai and Hiroshige (Japanese woodblock) art prints. Since my experience happened in VR, I cannot share any imagery, but effectively, I explored the painting below in VR from the perspective of the boat under the bridge.
The Manga lab also had a cool sitting area and additional arcade machines. It was awesome. Some more pictures below.
If you find yourself in Abu Dhabi, then definitely check out the Louvre Abu Dhabi. It is worth a visit and only takes a couple of hours to explore. There is also several world class art pieces by artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Jackson Pollock.