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Imperial War Museum London Opens Baghdad, 5 March 2007: A New Display with Jeremy Deller

The Imperial War Museum London will display a car salvaged from the bombing of the historic Al-Mutanabbi street book market in Baghdad.

The bombing on 5 March 2007 killed thirty-eight people and wounded many more, and is viewed as an attack on Baghdad’s cultural life. No one has ever claimed responsibility.

The Museum has worked with Turner prize winning artist Jeremy Deller to present the destroyed vehicle, a major new acquisition which serves as evidence of the impact of modern war on civilians. At the beginning of the 20th Century, ten per cent of all casualties in conflict were civilians; now that figure is 90%.

Previously the car has featured in Deller’s project in the USA, It Is What It Is. It will now be displayed in Imperial War Museum London’s main atrium, surrounded by some of the most powerful military hardware of the past 100 years. During its time on display, the car will be the focus for a series of open conversations about the conflict in Iraq.

Jeremy Deller says: ‘It’s unusual to see anything from the conflict in Iraq ‘in life’ so I was interested in being able to show this car to the public, initially in the US and now the UK. I’m very happy that the Imperial War Museum has taken this object into its Collections and is putting it on such prominent display – I couldn’t think of a better home for it in this country.’

Diane Lees, Director-General of the Imperial War Museum says: ‘It’s a privilege to work with an artist like Jeremy Deller and we are incredibly grateful for the insight and effort he’s invested in the acquisition and installation of this remarkable exhibit for the Imperial War Museum. We hope Baghdad, 5 March 2007 will prove a thought-provoking addition to our permanent Collections and encourage visitors to consider not just this car, but all our exhibits, in a new light.’

The car was donated to the Museum by the New Museum, New York where It Is What It Is originally opened. A book about the car’s journey will be published by Creative Time and launched at the Museum in September. The car will go on display in Imperial War Museum North from April 2011.

Imperial War Museum London, Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ

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