Artists Boycott Guggenheim Over Worker Abuse in Abu Dhabi

03.21.11 Marina Galperina

The Human Right Watch endorsed the Guggenheim boycott last week. The advocacy group cited “a cycle of abuse that leaves migrant workers deeply indebted, poorly paid, and unable to defend their rights or even quit their jobs” on the Gugg Abu Dhabi construction site in 2009, but the Gugg’s been all “lip service.” Well, it just got real.

The petition’s main point:

No one should be asked to exhibit or perform in a building that has been constructed and maintained on the backs of exploited employees.

With 130 artists, curators and writers boycotting all museum branches, the Gugg will have a hard time stocking up those contemporary collections until thousands of dollars in “recruitment fees” are repaid to each worker and a “reputable independent monitor” is assigned to check up on the working conditions.