Sunday, July 09, 2006


Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Update

Did the AP get the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi cost figures wrong?

Anthony Calnek, the Guggenheim's deputy director for communications and publishing, writes me following:
I happen to have seen preliminary estimates, and although I can't tell you the right number, I can tell you the AP got it wrong, both in terms of what the museum will cost and what the collection will cost. I'm really disappointed that you would use your blog to in this ridiculously irresponsible way.


Calnek adds that the the Abu Dhabi government "doesn't want any financial details to be revealed." (So did the AP's Jim Krane just make up his numbers? Or did he rely on a faulty source?)

Earlier today, I e-mailed Calnek this question: "What gives you confidence that this project can succeed, where others have not?" Calnek's reply:

It's the Crown Prince [Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan], for one. I was just there, and the entire royal family---i.e., the entire government---is 100% behind this. And believe me, they can afford it. Plus, they're looking over their shoulder at Dubai.

No money problems, no political-approval issues, and a desire to keep up with Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Perfect. Now if only the United Arab Emirates could clean up their act on human rights.

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