Saudi Arabia To Build 230 New Museums

The other day, The Art Newspaper reported that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has plans to spend “more than $1.7 billion on building 230 new museums as part of a program to promote the country’s culture.” Judith Dobrzynski is puzzled: “The plan strikes me as excessive. By the most recent count, Saudi Arabia has about 30 million people. That’s one museum per 130,000 or so inhabitants. Saudi Arabia, so far, doesn’t get many tourists. I suppose the Kingdom can choose to support the museums, but I doubt they’ll have enough visitors to stand on their own.” Women don’t want to visit a country where they aren’t allowed to drive? Westerners don’t want to go to a place where you can get stoned for being gay? Fancy that!

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