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Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Boycotted For Screwing Over Workers

It was to supposed to be the land of dreams: a manmade island designed as a global epicenter of arts and culture, all furnished by big-name architects such as Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, and Norman Foster. Unfortunately, Saadiyat Island, off Dubai, was considered the land of dreams by a bunch of migrant laborers, too, many of whom forked over thousands of dollars in recruitment fees just to work in the Emirates. Now, these poor folks aren't being duly repaid—in some case, they're not being paid for their work at all, they're being forced to sleep outside, or worksites are unsafe. The Times has reported on a labor-rights scandal currently lurking within the chunky blocks and curved facades of Gehry's new Saadiyat Island Guggenheim Museum, in which more than 130 artists commissioned to create work for the space are boycotting it instead. Which obviously screws the ol' Gugg over, considering it's set to open in 2015. Said Lebanese NYC-based artist Walid Raad, "Artists should not be asked to exhibit their work in buildings built on the backs of exploited workers,” adding, “Those working with bricks and mortar deserve the same kind of respect as those working with cameras and brushes.” Amen, brother!

· Abu Dhabi Guggenheim Faces Protest [NYT]