How a Public Art Program Transformed Qatar’s Capital City Into a Blue-Chip Sculpture Park

How a Public Art Program Transformed Qatar’s Capital City Into a Blue-Chip Sculpture Park
Jeff Koons’ Puppy, a Qatari loan.

Until then, the public sculptures on view in Doha reveal much about Qatar’s collecting practices. For one, price is no object. Nor is size an issue. But beyond those practicalities, the works have an intriguing thematic unity. Look again at Urs Fischer’s Lamp/Bear, the caricature-like characters of Tom Otterness’s playground, Louise Bourgeois’s Maman and KAWS’s Small Lie, not to mention Jeff Koons’s plant covered Puppy, which was identified as a Qatari loan when it was exhibited years ago in Australia (though it’s never been on view in Doha), and some Murakami works that ARTnews has identified as being owned by the Qataris. Note the yearning for childhood regained. In this Gulf country, Peter Pan-like three-dimensional art is juxtaposed with futuristic architecture. At a dire moment in world history, a group of sculptures has been brought together that look back to more innocent times.

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