Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

Quite a lot of controversy and publicity has surrounded this Frank Gehry designed structure in the upcoming cultural district in Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island.

Led by Lebanese artist Walid Raad, over 130 artists, curators and writers who have been commissioned to contribute their works and efforts to the upcoming Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum, have threatened to boycott the museum in March earlier this year, in an attempt to put pressure to improve builders' working conditions.

The Guggenheim Foundation has already issued a statement responding to the boycott, guaranteeing that it will ensure a close monitoring of these workers' rights through out, alongside their partners, TDIC. This follows a critical report on workers' conditions by Human Rights Watch, which the foundation has called out as "painting an inaccurate picture" of the current situation.

While I do agree that it is a very positive project for the entire region, I am quite supportive and impressed by the artists' smart PR stunt easy claim to fame initiative - highlighting a widely prevalent issue in the Gulf at the risk of losing jobs or future opportunities.

Also of concern is the content of the museum - the Guggenheim Foundation, a brand well-known for its quite contemporary and post-modern view on art, poses the question - will it just be a cookie-cutter version of the NY/LA one, including content?

And more significantly, does the region hold the content and artists to fill it in on time?

Doha's Mathaf Modern definitely hasn't disappointed, especially with its first exhibition Told/Untold/Retold, curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath. (Post on this coming up soon)

Still, very much looking forward to the opening - due for completion in 2012.

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