TABLE OF CONTENTS

TRADING PLACES: THE NEW MIDDLE EAST MARKET

OMA/Rem Koolhaas, Waterfront City, 2007–, Dubai. Rendering.

FOR THE WESTERN CRITIC, delirious Dubai makes the easiest of targets. What was only two decades ago a languorous trading post known mostly for pirates, pearl fishing, and gold smuggling has swiftly fashioned itself into the commercial and recreational hub of the Persian Gulf region—a haven of tax-free zones and corporate enclaves, home to seven-star hotels, indoor ski slopes, and megalith malls. The dizzying scale and speed of Dubai’s growth have led many to write it off as little more than a surrealist pastiche, a theme park, all fake, all the time. Architect Rem Koolhaas has dubbed this vein of criticism the “Disney fatwa.” Koolhaas—who happens to be designing a dense 1.5 billion–square-foot Waterfront City in Dubai—insists that such pat dismissals conceal the anxieties and insecurities of the critics themselves: After all, the metastasizing skyscraping landscape

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW at the special holiday rate of $45 a year—70% off the newsstand price. You’ll receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the April 2008 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.