During the summer of 2014 a section of the New Museum’s ground floor was transformed by a wallpapered installation that transported viewers to the lavish interior of an Abu Dhabi hotel. Over the Visitor Services desk of the New York institution was a frieze of stately portraits—the type of official imagery that is often seen in public (and private) spaces in the Arab world. Adhered to the back wall and elevator doors of the lobby, the installation, The One and Only Madinat New Museum Royal Mirage (2014), belonged to the GCC, a group of artists and cultural practitioners originally from Persian Gulf states, many of whom grew up in Kuwait. Assuming the acronym of the Gulf Cooperation Council—the political and economic alliance that joins the monarchies of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—the...

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