Motorists on the 100-mph superhighway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi can tune in to a radio-guided art gallery.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi has devised a novel way to celebrate great art—and made an unwitting homage to the old Burma-Shave ads that once lined American highways. The museum’s Highway Gallery project—created to mark UAE Innovation Month—features a series of 10 billboards strung along 60-odd miles of the E/11 Sheikh Zayed road between Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Each of the 26-foot-tall signs features an outsize image of an artwork culled from the Louvre’s collection of more than 600 pieces.
As drivers approach each artwork, the billboard preempts programming across three popular local FM radio stations—Radio 1 (100.5), Classic FM (91.6) and Emarat FM (95.8)—to deliver a looping 30-second art-history lesson about each piece.
Like the museum that created it, the month-long Highway Gallery project features an impressive multinational mix of sculptural works and paintings, including an unusual two-headed statue from 6,500 B.C.E. (pictured below) and Leonardo da Vinci’s La Belle Ferronnière (pictured above). There’s also a beloved Manet, a Van Gogh selfie, and, interestingly, a Gilbert Stuart portrait of U.S. President George Washington.