What is, and what was luxury? This story celebrates a world history of the lavish and the luxurious through 350 extraordinary objects – fashion, jewellery, art, furniture, design and more.

Spanning thousands of years, marvel at the ways in which luxury has been interpreted by diverse cultures: from extravagant offerings for the divine, to golden furniture fit for royalty and the iconic couture of fashion houses and virtuoso objects of luxury houses, as Christian Dior, Chanel, Cartier, Balenciaga and Hermès Discover how different cultures have defined luxury and the impact of such excess on the evolution of society, as a way to undermine or underline the status quo. Consider the prominent role of women in defining luxury, and with it, the ebb and flow between excess and moderation. We explore what elevates an object to the realm of precious - be it time, craftsmanship, or rarity.

The exhibition presents multiple narratives of luxury from ancient civilisations and their worship of the gods, to the exquisite finery of the 18th century French court of Versailles, as well as the ways in which the Industrial Revolution transformed both our interpretation and consumption of luxury goods. It will question what luxury means to us today amidst concerns about sustainable development in an age of globalisation and mass consumption, and evaluate ‘money can’t buy’ notions of personal freedoms such as leisure time and freedom of movement.

Drawing on the collections of Musée des Arts Décoratifs and other French museums, including Musée du Louvre and Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, this exhibition offers a rare chance to glimpse, revel in and evaluate true luxury. The exhibition is curated by Olivier Gabet, Deputy Managing Director of Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Scenography of the exhibition is by studio Adrien Gardère.

Admission is included with your museum general admission ticket.
Louvre Abu Dhabi Art Club Members visit for free.

Cultural programme

10,000 Years of Luxury will be accompanied by a rich cultural programme curated by internationally respected artistic director Ruth Mackenzie CBE. Centered around creating rare experiences that “money can’t buy”, the programme will feature pop-up performances by international artists, musicians and dancers. On view from 6 to 9 November, these surprise performances will offer visitors a unique personal encounter with world-renowned artists set against the backdrop of the exhibition and Louvre Abu Dhabi’s permanent collection and outdoor spaces. Performers include the L.A. Dance Project led by French choreographer Benjamin Millepied, Moroccan singer and actress Hindi Zahra, UAE artist Hamdan Al Abri, the Chinese musician Wang Li and classical music quartet Quatuor Diotima, among others.

Two talks will explore objects and themes highlighted in 10,000 Years of Luxury. On 29 October, curator Olivier Gabet will discuss the exhibition, which celebrates a world history of the lavish and the luxurious. Dr. Mark Beech, Head of Archaeology for Al Dhafra and Abu Dhabi at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, will give a talk on the discovery of the Abu Dhabi Pearl on 26 November. Dr. Beech’s talk will be accompanied by an excerpt from the new documentary series History of the Emirates, produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi. In addition, there will be a virtual reality experience based on the series that will take viewers on an immersive journey through the lives of the Emirati forefathers and the history of the UAE.

Emirati artist Hind Mezaina has curated a series of films that feature luxury in the worlds of fashion and art, including Phantom Thread, Academy-award winning musical The King and I; the classic 1960s rom-com How to Steal A Million, starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole; the documentary Time Thieves; and Have You Seen My Movie?, which features clips from 1,000+ films cut together to create a new cinema experience, directed by Paul Anton Smith. Artist Rinku Awtani will also present a programme of family films for all ages.

Finally, Louvre Abu Dhabi will premiere the interactive installation, Digital Snow Globes, from 12 December 2019 to 10 January 2020, which will bring a festive winter spirit to the museum with visitor-activated snowstorms surrounding life-sized reproductions of artworks from 10,000 Years of Luxury encased in snow globes.

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