Art News: Doubt Surfaces for Abu Dhabi Museums

The completion of one of the world’s most high-profile cultural projects is in question following a government review of public spending.

Ambitious plans to build a museum district on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island—that would include branches of New York’s Guggenheim and Paris’s Louvre—are being spearheaded by the Emirati capital’s Tourism Development and Investment Co.

But after the TDIC dropped awarding a bid to a major construction contractor earlier this week, skeptics are wondering if the art institutions will ever come to fruition—especially since the project has already been delayed, with an original opening date of 2012.

The TDIC maintains that it’s continuing with the project as planned, and that the slow-down is due to an overall look at its bidding process. However, little progress can be seen on Saadiyat Island, located within a short drive of the city’s downtown.

In addition to Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim and the Louvre, to be designed by Jean Nouvel, other museums slated are a national museum by Norman Forster, a performing arts center by Zaha Hadid, and a maritime museum by Tadao Ando.[The Financial Times]

Photo credit: courtesy krebsmaus07 / flickr