An emir may find it easier to buy great art than to get his subjects to care about it. The Murakami show was absolutely empty on the Tuesday I went. The Arab modern art museum gets a trivial 1,700 visitors each month. Even in Pei’s jewel box, a visiting show of Islamic treasures seemed sparsely attended.
QMA spokesman Omar Chaikhouni describes the al-Thanis’ artistic projects as about “spreading a culture of appreciating knowledge, respecting art … There is no museum culture in Qatar.”
…“Their strategy is not about building something quickly, for now,” said one auction-world source. “It’s a millennium project … It’s for the next generation.”