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<nettime> Guggenheim Artists Boycott
Andrew Ross on Thu, 17 Mar 2011 05:09:36 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Guggenheim Artists Boycott


More than 130 international artists, curators, and writers have signed the
petition letter below. Please go to http://gulflabor.wordpress.com/ if you
wish to add your name. 

March 17, 2010
To: Richard Armstrong, Director
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
1071 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10128

We, the undersigned, are writing to demand that the Guggenheim Foundation
obtain contractual guarantees that will protect the rights of workers
employed in the construction and maintenance of its new branch museum in
Abu Dhabi.

Human rights violations are currently occurring on Saadiyat Island, the
location of the new museum. In two extensive reports on the UAE, Human
Rights Watch has documented a cycle of abuse that leaves migrant workers
deeply indebted, poorly paid, and unable to defend their rights or even
quit their jobs. The UAE authorities responsible for developing the island
have failed to tackle the root causes of abuse: unlawful recruiting fees,
broken promises of wages, and a sponsorship system that gives employers
virtually unlimited power over workers.

These violations, which threaten to sully the Guggenheim?s reputation,
present a serious, moral challenge to those who may be asked to work with
the museum. No one should be asked to exhibit or perform in a building that
has been constructed and maintained on the backs of exploited employees.

 Human Rights Watch has expressed its concerns to the Foundation on several
occasions, but so far, adequate steps have not been taken to ensure that
workers? rights will be respected at the Abu Dhabi site. While the
Guggenheim is franchising its name and is not a direct party to the
subcontractors who employ the migrant labor, it can and should assert
responsibility for the well-being of these workers.

We urge the Foundation and its partners in Abu Dhabi, TDIC (Tourism
Development and Investment Company), to conform rigorously to the various
commitments made in the TDIC?s Employment Practices Policy (EPP), dated
June 2010, the TDIC/Guggenheim Statement of Shared Values, published
September 22, 2010, and the recent EPP update, amended March 11th, 2011.
Moreover, we urge the Foundation and TDIC to address the current absence of
independent monitoring of employers? compliance with international human
rights and labor laws, and the lack of an effective enforcement mechanism.
A monitor must be empowered to make random visits to work sites and
maintain a relationship independent of employer influence. It must also
determine if its findings conform to international laws and standards, and
it must issue public reports on these findings. In the absence of these
conditions, violations will persist and continue to be under-reported.
Similarly, without explicit mechanisms for enforcin g the terms of the
contract or clearly enumerated remedies in the event of breaches, all
efforts to protect workers will be in vain. TDIC has announced that it will
appoint a ?reputable independent monitor? in May. We demand that the
appointment be made as soon as possible and that the conditions outlined
above be observed as part of the monitor?s mandate. 

Our cooperation with the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi (and, for many of us, at
other Guggenheim locations) will not be forthcoming if the Foundation fails
to take steps to safeguard the rights of the workers who will be employed
in the museum?s operations on Saadiyat Island. Human Rights Watch will
determine if and when adequate monitoring measures have been established
and effectively implemented.

Signatories:

Hamra Abbas

Jumana Abboud          

Adel Abidin

Dennis Adams:

Shaina Anand             

Yazid Anani                

Ayreen Anastas                       

Doug Ashford

Kader Attia                 

Maja Bejevic               

Khaled Barakeh                      

Yto Barrada                            

Regine Basha

Shumon Basar             

Ute Meta Bauer                       

Anthea Behm              

Zarina Bhimji 

Doris Bittar    

Monica Bonvicini        

Gregg Bordowitz                    

Tania Bruguera           

Fran?ois Bucher

Ringo Bunoan 

Janet Cardiff                           

Mario Caro                 

Mel Chin                                

Wendy Coburn                       

Pablo de Ocampo                   

T. J. Demos                             

Corinne Diserens                    

Willie Doherty:                       

Sam Durant                            

Jimmie Durham                      

Koken Ergun                          

Annika Eriksson                     

Harun Farocki            

Azin Feizabadi:                       

Andrea Fraser             

Rene Gabri                             

Emeren Garcia            

Andrea Geyer                         

Leyla Gediz                             

Miriam Ghani                         

Paul Graham                           

Avery Gordon            

Catherine Grout                     

Hans Haacke                           

Joana Hadjithomas                  

Khaled Hafez

Tone Hansen                          

Shuruq Harb                           

Mona Hatoum            

Sharon Hayes

Sandi Hilal                              

Christine Hill  

Thomas Hirschhorn                

Vlatka Horvat                         

Alfredo Jaar                            

Emily Jacir                              

Luis Jacob                               

Jakob Jakobsen                       

Khalil Joriege              

Lamia Joriege                          

Amar Kanwar             

Thomas Keenan

Deborah Kelly            

Laleh Khorramian                   

Marty Kirchner                       

Silvia Kolbowski                     

Barbara Kruger                       

Carin Kuoni   

Laura Kurgan             

Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez          

Lani Maestro                           

Chus Martines            

Angela Melitopoulos               

John Menick                           

George Bures Miller                           

Naeem Mohaiemen                 

Rabih Mrou?                          

Matt Mullican             

Huma Mulji                            

Antonio Muntadas                  

Monica Narula            

Issam Nassar:                          

Yamini Nayar                          

Diana Nemiroff                      

Molly Nesbit                           

Shirin Neshat                          

Angel Nevarez            

Tom Nicholson                       

Marcel Odenbach                   

Gina Osterloh             

Trevor Paglen                         

Cornelia Parker                       

Christine Peters                      

Nata?a Petre?in-Bachelez        

Alessandro Petti                      

Paul Pfeiffer                            

Walid Raad                             

Mike Rakowitz            

Annie Ratti                             

Martha Rosler             

Andrew Ross                          

Natascha Sadr Haghighian      

Anjalika Sagar                         

Jayce Salloum                          

Rasha Salti                              

Katya Sander                          

Lina Saneh

Allan Sekula                            

Vivian Selbo

Stephen Sheehi

Adania Shibli              

Gregory Sholette                     

Suha Shoman                          

Reid Shier       

Katharina Sieverding              

Carl Skelton

Ashok Sukumaran                   

Julia Scher                              

Hito Steyerl                            

Beth Stryker                            

Paolo W. Tamburella  

Rirkrit Tiravanija        

Valerie Tevere             

Oraib Toukan             

Tristan Tremeau                     

Gediminas Urbonas

Murtaza Vali               

Fabienne Verstraeten              

Krzysztof Wodiczko               

Akram Zaatari            

Florian Zeyfang


Andrew Ross
Department of Social and Cultural Analysis
Professor of American Studies
New York University


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