Jeremy Deller's Iraqi car

Bombed car goes to London’s Imperial War Museum

A project by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller has been acquired by London’s Imperial War Museum. A car salvaged from a bombing at a historic Baghdad book market in March 2007 that killed 38 people will go on show in the museum’s atrium from September, alongside the institution’s usual display of military hardware.

The idea is to encourage debate about the Iraq conflict. Titled “It Is What It Is”, the work toured the US in early 2009, accompanied by the artist, a US soldier who served in Iraq and an Iraqi artist, Esam Pasha, who worked as a translator for the US army (The Art Newspaper, June 2009, p37). The piece was on display at New York’s New Museum before going on a three-week road trip, ending at Los Angeles’ Hammer Museum. “Ironicaly people out on the street seemed to get the idea more than people in museums,” said Pasha. “People had conversations and arguments with us about the whole Iraqi issue. Many ranted at us. There were a lot of good conversations on all levels.”

This article was published in The Art Newspaper, July-August 2010