A Yayoi Kusama pumpkin, Rashid Johnson mosaic, and a monumental Jeff Koons sculpture—in the likeness of an endangered marine mammal—are among the 40 new and commissioned public artworks to be installed throughout Doha in Qatar, the state body Qatar Museums announced today.
The mass public art program marks an ambitious fall season for the Gulf nation, with much-anticipated events including the FIFA World Cup football tournament and the inauguration of several new museums.
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Some sculptures have already been installed, such as Untitled (Trench, Shafts, Pit, Tunnel and Chamber), 1978, by Bruce Nauman, in Msheireb Downtown Doha, Tom Claassen’s Falcon (2021) outside the Hamad International Airport, and Two Orchids (2015) by Isa Genzken near the National Theater, in what the government is calling its new “outdoor museum.”
The full artist list is a wide range of living and dead international, regional, and Qatari artists. The newly installed works include Maqam I, Maqam II, Maqam III by Lebanese artist Simone Fattal, three conical granite sculptures reminiscent of blue dunes, a nearly 100 foot-long banner by American conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner at Stadium 974, and a light installation by Iraqi artist Adel Abidin projected on the façade of Mathaf.
The public art program is overseen by Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the chairperson of Qatar Museums. Once completed, it will rival the most prominent sculpture initiative in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia’s open-air sculpture museum on Corniche in Jeddah, which counts works by Hans Arp, Alexander Calder, and Maha Malluh.
See a selection of the new public artworks in Doha here.