Washington, DC (October 14, 2014) — On October 7, the Mohammed VI Modern and Contemporary Art Museum – the first major museum to be built since Morocco gained independence from France in 1956 – opened its doors, showcasing modern and contemporary works by Moroccan artists. The museum has already forged partnerships with the Louvre in Paris, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
“We are honored to sign this MOU and begin collaborating with the National Foundation of Museums of the Kingdom of Morocco,” said Molly Fannon, Director of the Smithsonian’s Office of International Relations, about the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between the two institutions on the occasion. “From Islamic art at our Freer and Sackler Galleries to featuring Moroccan weavers at our 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festivals, we have long been eager to share Morocco’s rich culture and traditions here in America, and we are delighted to establish a platform to explore opportunities for exchange and partnership.”
The three-floor museum took ten years to build and cost $20 million. In addition to space for permanent collections and temporary exhibitions, it houses an art and multimedia library, an education department, an auditorium, and a restaurant. Its first exhibition, entitled “1914–2014: 100 Years of Creation,” includes works by 150 Moroccan artists, illustrating the variety of Moroccan art over the past hundred years.
At the opening ceremony, Mehdi Qotbi, chairman of Morocco’s National Foundation of Museums, noted that the new museum is part of King Mohammed VI’s goal to make culture a real engine for human, social and economic development by establishing high-level cultural facilities in Morocco that encourage creativity and promote the principles of cultural democratization.
“Morocco’s 2011 Constitution pays special attention to the country’s heritage and culture, and King Mohammed VI has always understood that democracy is about much more than elections,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. “This new museum demonstrates this, and the breadth of his vision for a modern, liberalizing Morocco.”
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