Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s Future Uncertain

10.24.11 Marina Galperina

Construction plans for Guggenheim’s new fancy digs in the United Arab Emirates have been “temporarily” shelved, as the state-run Tourism Development and Investment Co. is “reviewing its strategy for handing out jobs to contractors.” Lest we forget, 130+ artists boycotted Gugg Abu Dhabi for allegedly swindling migrant construction workers into indentured servitude.

The future cultural district at Saadiyat Island overlooking the Persian Gulf is planned contain branches of the Guggenheim and the Louvre, as well as a national museum and performing arts center. While a rep said Sunday the Gugg is still a go, no new concrete plans have been announced.

As of now, the artist boycott remains in place, as the independent monitor assigned to check on this “cycle of abuse” isn’t exactly independent. Hey, museums are awesome, but government-funded mega-museums in places where gay people get chemically castrated and people who “insult” leaders on the internet get imprisoned and tortured? Not so much.