Imperial War Museum Sends Steve McQueen To Iraq

By David Prudames | 11 June 2003
a still from Bear, 1993, a video installation by Steve McQueen.

Left: a still from Bear, 1993, a video installation by Steve McQueen. Photo: Jon Pratty. © 24 Hour Museum.

Turner prize winning artist, Steve McQueen is set to visit Iraq in the next few months as part of a commission to produce work in response to the recent war.

Instigated by the Imperial War Museum's Art Commissions Committee, the project will involve a research mission to the middle-eastern country, with the idea of holding an exhibition of the resulting work in 2004.

Perhaps best-known for his film installations, McQueen was the first recipient of the Institute of Contemporary Art Futures Award in 1996. In 1999 he was awarded the Turner Prize and in 2002, the London-born artist and filmmaker received the OBE.

Shows the exterior of the Imperial War Museum.

Right: the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth, South London, was originally set up in 1917 to record the story of the Great War, but its remit has since been extended to make it the UK's national museum of conflict. Photo: David Prudames. © 24 Hour Museum.

A spokesperson for the museum said: “The artist has an open brief to make new work, which reflects the current situation in Iraq and is influenced by what he sees and experiences during a visit a visit to that country.”

“The timing of the visit is dependent upon a number of factors, but it is hoped that this will take place during the next two or three months.”

Currently chaired by well-known sculptor Bill Woodrow, the Art Commissions Committee was set up in 1972 to commission ambitious and original artwork on contemporary conflict in its widest sense.

a still from Bear, 1993, a video installation by Steve McQueen.

Left: a still from Bear, 1993, a video installation by Steve McQueen. Photo: Jon Pratty. © 24 Hour Museum.

The Iraq project follows a series of innovative commissions that began with sending Ken Howard to Northern Ireland in 1973 and most recently saw the April opening of an exhibition at the museum entitled The House of Osama Bin Laden.

Following a research expedition to Afghanistan, artists Langlands & Bell created an interactive digital model of a former home of the world's most wanted terrorist.

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