Guggenheim “Scouting For New Possibilities” In China

Guggenheim Director Richard Armstrong Discusses Museum’s Success In Opening Locations Overseas On Beijing Trip

Guggenheim Director Richard Armstrong (Photo courtesy Global Times)

Guggenheim Director Richard Armstrong (Photo courtesy Global Times)

China’s art boom hasn’t only attracted the attention of art collectors or auction houses, it’s piqued the interest of a number of the world’s top museums as well, with some (like MoMA in New York or the Getty in Los Angeles) beefing up their collections of Chinese contemporary art and others considering the possibility of opening branches in China. Amid continued confusion over whether Beijing will move ahead with plans to destroy its cultural hotbeds (previously on Jing Daily), this week Richard Armstrong, the director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, traveled to China to discuss the possibility of branching out into the China market, telling the Global Times:

“China is like a completely new world to me, everything here is so exciting, especially its art…I hope in the near future there will be further cooperation between Guggenheim and art museums here.”

Armstrong said the Guggenheim is looking to expand beyond North America and Europe in coming years, eyeing the Middle East, South America and Asia. The museum is currently busy constructing its new location in Abu Dhabi, which is due to be completed in 2013 and will be the largest Guggenheim museum in the world. Armstrong said the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will focus primarily on contemporary Middle Eastern art. Discussing the possibility of launching a similar project in China, Armstrong said the more likely possibility is for the Guggenheim to partner with local musuems rather than building all-new constructions. With China in the midst of a museum-building spree, Armstrong may be in the right place at the right time.

From Xinhua:

Armstrong said that Guggenheim’s future direction is to promote such exhibitions and enhance its cultural influence around the world, including cooperating with local museums rather than building new structures.

“There will be more flexibility in terms of cooperating in this way,” he commented, comparing his position to one running a company.

Armstrong added that since each place in the world has its own particular history and cultural characteristics, it is impossible for Guggenheim to fully explore each region, with local cooperation a more favorable option.

He said that cooperation activities could include joint exhibitions, education promotion, training workers and publishing catalogues, amongst others, adding that Guggenheim is looking at China for this type of cooperation, although nothing has been finalized at this stage.

After a nine-day trip to coastal cities in East China, Armstrong said he was deeply impressed by Chinese art, which has a close connection to Chinese history but also is very vibrant.

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Art & Design, Market Analysis