Both institutions face pressure from Gulf Labor – a coalition of artists, scholars, and other concerned individuals – to “assert responsibility for the wellbeing of these workers”. In a letter to the New York Times in June, Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong insisted that conditions on Saadiyat Island had improved in terms of “worker accommodation, access to medical coverage, grievance procedures and passport retention”. He nevertheless acknowledged the Guggenheim’s inability to more broadly affect the political and legal landscape of the UAE. A recent report released by Gulf Labor found that poor conditions persist on Saadiyat Island despite a public relations campaign to highlight a model housing complex for the island’s workers.

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