Entering general discourse is the expression the 'Bilbao effect', referring to urban renewal spurred on through high-profile culture. Within its first year of opening, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao with 1.3million visitors, had paid
for its building costs and the city had become alive with the pulse of economic growth and development. Its success prompted requests to build Guggenheim 'branches' in dozens of other locations. The vision for a world wide network of
museums, coordinated from New York was the brainchild of the Director of the Guggenheim Foundation, Thomas Krens. It was initiated as a means to raise funds for the Guggenheim by capitalising on its greatest assets —its name, reputation
and art collection. Kren's driving ambition to expand the Guggenheim into a brand, critics say has instead stretched resources, prompted the development of decidedly 'commercial' exhibitions and tarnished the reputation of a
great art collection. In this paper I plan to highlight areas of contention in the global reach of the the Guggenheim New York, by discussing the creation of its museum satellites in Bilbao, Berlin, La Vegas and to be completed in 2011, Abu Dhabi. The main focus of the discussion will be on the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao where the tensions between the global and the local are particularly apparent.
|Keywords:||Global Predicaments, Guggenheim Museum, Guggenheim Bilbao, Museums|
Snr Lecturer, Fine Art, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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