More on the Guantanamo Bay Museum

By Benjamin Wittes
Thursday, August 30, 2012, 1:31 PM

As promised yesterday, the organizers of the Guantanamo Bay Museum of Art and History have released a longer statement on their project. It reads:

Artists’ Website Project Closes Gitmo and Replaces It With Art Museum

On August 29th, 2012, the website of the Guantanamo Bay Museum of Art and History was publicly launched. Designed by a group of artists from around the globe, the project creates a ‘speculative present’ in which the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facilities have been closed and replaced by an art museum whose purpose is to reflect on the history of the site.

The museum was listed as an official place on google maps ( ) and features original artworks from 6 different contemporary artists, as well as essays on Guantanamo Bay from leading contemporary scholars including Judith Butler and Derek Gregory.

Ian Alan Paul, an artist from San Francisco who coordinated and curated the project, states:

“The purpose of the project is both to explore the human rights abuses that occurred and continue to occur in Guantanamo Bay, but also to provide a space for radical imagination and potential openings and to insist that it is both possible and necessary to close the prison facility.”

The project was the result of large collaboration, with over 25 artists, writers and other volunteers contributing to the project in some way from Europe, North America and South America. Visitors to the museum were invited to plan their trip to Guantanamo Bay, become a member of the museum, apply to be an artist in residence, as well as read about the history of the museum itself.

There were over 3000 visits to the museum on the first day from 42 different countries.