Category Archives: Essays

Op-Ed in the Walker Arts Magazine

Image: Workers camp on Saadiyat Island in 2011, Hans Haacke.

Gulf Labor members Naeem Mohaiemen (text) and Hans Haacke (photos) contribute an “Artists Op-Ed” to the Walker Art Centre’s Magazine.
Defiance is welcomed when it is sanctioned and staged as art. Drill a crater in the floor, flood a gallery, embalm an animal, smash an object, stage a pitiful death—critics hail these gestures as having the power to “shape worlds.” But when artists sit down at a conference table with museum administrators and read from a list of demands for labor rights, this work—involving conversation, negotiation, research, protest—suddenly becomes illegible to the same museum. The artists whose projects were previously praised as stretching boundaries are now tagged as maverick spoilers.”

You can read the entire piece here:

The Men in the Middle

© Molly Crabapple
© Molly Crabapple

“These are the men behind the gravity-defying towers shooting out of the ground in Dubai. Their labor is also responsible for building the World Cup infrastructure in Doha, the Guggenheim museum and a New York University campus on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, and the endless malls, luxury hotels, and other monuments to late capitalism that dot the oil-rich cities of this peninsula.”
Continue reading The Men in the Middle

The Islands of Evasion: Mariam Ghani

Mariam Ghani and Erin Ellen Kelly, Smile, You're in Sharjah, 2009, still from video installation.
Mariam Ghani and Erin Ellen Kelly, Smile, You’re in Sharjah, 2009, still from video installation.

In April, Triple Canopy organized a forum called Critical Language, during which a group of artists, writers, curators, arts administrators, and other cultural workers discussed the “political implications and uses” of specialized language in the art world. The forum itself was inspired by the specific thread of that debate tweaked by Mostafa Heddaya’s March 2013 Hyperallergic article “When Artspeak Masks Oppression,” which analyzed the language deployed by the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi project and its representatives, and the subsequent response by Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong, also published by Hyperallergic. Continue reading The Islands of Evasion: Mariam Ghani