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Artists respond to the Guggenheim-Gulf Labor split

April 29, 2016

An exhibition of newly acquired works from the Middle East and North Africa, titled “But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise,” opens today at the Guggenheim in New York. Ten of the participating artists have issued a statement condemning the museum’s recent decision to end talks with the activist group Gulf Labor Coalition.

The artists listed below have work included in the Guggenheim Museum’s collection and in the UBS MAP exhibition: But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa. We express our disappointment over the Guggenheim Museum and Foundation’s recent decision to end dialogue with the Gulf Labor Coalition, concerning labor practices in the construction of their Abu Dhabi Museum. As artists connected in various ways to this region, we believe in new institutions as cultural forces; we support their creation but also believe they can be catalysts for greater social change. We hope that the Guggenheim remains committed to innovation on both a representational as well as a structural level. Furthermore, we believe that dialogue is the most productive way forward for all parties involved. This exhibition is one form of dialogue and we regret that it opens amidst the current development in the exchange between the museum and GLC. We urge the museum to reconsider and reverse its decision to terminate its dialogue with GLC and affiliated NGOs.

List of names:

Abbas Akhavan
Kader Attia
Ali Cherri
Mariam Ghani
Joana Hadjithomas
Iman Issa
Khalil Joreige
Hassan Khan
Ahmad Mater
Zineb Sedira

Note: Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige are collaborators, so they collectively constitute one of the 16 discrete artistic participants in the exhibition, and they both also signed the statement separately.

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