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Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Controversy

Friday 18th March 2011

The Guggenheim is one of the very few museums in the world that is building a franchise of linked exhibition spaces across the globe. With museums in New York, Venice, Bilbao and Berlin already, the museum is again adding its name to another site in Abu Dhabi. 
 
To be located in the cultural district of Saadiyat Island in the Capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the new 450,000 square-foot museum was designed by international architect Frank Gehry whose other notable buildings include the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. 
 
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi has, however, been in the news recently for the wrong reasons. It has been reported that over 130 international artists and writers have vowed to boycott the museum unless the authorities do more to protect workers rights on the construction site in Abu Dhabi. 
 
It is claimed that there are many human rights violations happening on the building site including the abuse of power, unsuitable working conditions, unlawful recruiting fees and refusal to pay wages. It is thought that the Guggenheim project has fallen victim to the typical practices of construction in the UAE, where cheap Southern Asian workers have been used to develop things like 7 star hotels and record breaking skyscrapers. 
 
Artists and writers have said to have demanded better conditions and external, unbias monitoring of the situation in Abu Dhabi to ensure that the Guggenheim museum project can be completed without further controversy.
 
When finished, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be the largest Guggenheim site in the world, offering global exhibitions and an education program that will seek to focus on Middle Eastern contemporary art. 
 

Posted on March 18th 2011 on 08:02pm

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