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Will MoMA Lunch Put Qatar on Radar?

You get what you Pei for.


Small, oil-rich Qatar wanted to make sure it wasn’t getting lost amid all the news on big-money cultural initiatives in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. So the emirate held a lunch on March 25 at MoMA to announce its new, I.M. Pei–designed Museum of Islamic Art. The sleek white cubist limestone castle in the capital city of Doha opens in November. The lunch turnout was stellar: the Modern’s Glenn Lowry, the Met’s Philippe de Montebello and president Emily Rafferty, Sotheby’s vice-chairman Jamie Niven, and Christie’s America chairman Stephen Lash, along with Marie-Josée Kravis, who is on the board of the Qatar museum. Its president, Abdullah Al Najjar, bragged that, unlike other projects in the region, “our building is done.” He also gave a tutorial on how to pronounce Qatar: between “kotter” and “cutter.” “You people have a problem saying it, but you’ll learn.”

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