Exhibition Inquisition

The stuff you look at, but don't see.

Posts Tagged ‘oil

King Abdulaziz Center for Knowledge and Culture

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AAM Conference Expo

Everyone knows the United Arab Emirates are going through some serious development.  Dubai first captured my imagination when “The World” was featured (years ago) on Vh1’s Fabulous Life Of series.  Currently Abu Dhabi and Qatar (not an emirate) are going head-to-head to see who can build the most and more lavish museums.  In Doha, Qatar, there is the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei, and the National Museum designed by Jean Nouvel. In the other corner is Abu Dhabi where a whole island of museums is being constructed.  Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (now just a glorified sandbar) will get not only a Performing Arts Centre designed by Zaha Hadid, and a Foster+Partners-designed Zayed National Museum, but also a branch of the Guggenheim (designed of course by Frank Gehry), and a branch of the Louvre (also designed by Nouvel).  I wrote a piece about an artists’ boycott of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi over immigrant labors rights, or lack thereof.  You can read the whole story here.

Starchitecture face-off!

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Donors: British Petroleum

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My new view: Millennium Park

I have now begun life in Chicago (including being ejected from my first Chicago club), but fear not, I still have a few more, leftover LA posts to write.  I wanted to do a quick post to celebrate my arrival in Chicago and plan on posting semi-regularly about my new city.  I literally know no one in this city, which is why a familiar “face” was appreciated.  I’m talking about the Frank-Gehry-designed Amphitheater and Bridge in Millennium Park.  I get to look out over these beauties daily, so be jealous.

Who paid for this puppy?

The other day I decided to walk around the park, and walked over the bridge.  I had no idea that the sponsor of the bridge was *drum roll* British Petroleum aka BP.  Now BP has been in the news a lot lately because of that little oil spill in the Gulf Coast, you may have heard about it.  Cultural institutions that receive sponsorships from BP have also been feeling the heat, especially in the UK. Back in home in Los Angeles, the LA Times tried to stir some shit over LACMA’s BP Grand Entrance—the big, red, structure behind Urban Light.  I was curious if anyone in Chicago had gotten any shit for the BP bridge in Millennium Park.  I couldn’t find any signs of oil splattered on the bridge so I assume it has remained unharmed and ignored by the mudracking press. (LACMA made a good move by saying to comment.)

LACMA’s BP Grand Entrance installed with Choi Jeong-Hwa’s HappyHappy.

I think it is tremendously important to be aware of the sources of funding for cultural projects and for cultural organizations to remain transparent about their sources of funding.  BP is an evil corporation, obviously, but does that mean our cultural organizations are evil too? Should they be ridiculed for accepting buckets of ducats from less-than-kosher sources of funding?  Let’s stop being so ignorant.  The only reason museums and other cultural organizations turn to these sources of funding is because they can’t function alone from local and federal funding. The public certainly isn’t supporting these organizations either, so I don’t think the public is in a position to be so uppity about organizations taking money from Big Business.

Blood Money?

So I am going to enjoy my BP Bridge, but I’m going to enjoy it without be ignorant.  I am conscious about the sources of money for cultural organizations, and can reconcile this: at least some of the billions of dollars made by the corrupt oil industry are going towards supporting the arts. It could be spent on other things.

– H.I.

P.S. In other news, ExhibitionInquisition has now had over 10,000 views! Not bad for a project that started out as a homework assignment.  Also check out this video (skip to 2:00) the music seems a bit extreme.