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Has the Guggenheim Museum become the fast food equivalent of the art world? In the last 10 years the Guggenheim Foundation has sought to expand its brand worldwide with Guggenheim branded museums now gracing the cities of not only New York and Venice but also Las Vegas, Berlin and Bilbao, Spain.

Guggenheim NYC.jpg

And those were just the ones that have come to fruition. There were also plans for Taiwan, Rio de Janeiro and Guadalajara, Mexico but they were largely abandoned for lack of funding. Last month, however, the largest project to be undertaken to date was announced - a 30,000 square metre museum in Abu Dhabi which, when completed in 2011, will be the largest Guggenheim museum in the world.


So what exactly is the Guggenheim Foundation doing? In a not dissimilar way to which McDonalds or Starbucks seek to franchise their brand through homogenised outlets and product around the world,
frenchfries.jpg so the Guggenheim seeks to provide a particular style of modern and contemporary western art Guggenheim collection.jpg through permanent collections, exhibition and education programmes presented, in the most part, in iconic architect-designed buildings which become as important as the art inside.

Guggenheim Bilbao 2.jpg

In this case study I hope to investigate a number of questions that the Guggenheim's global strategy raises. These include what the Guggenheim brand means and why it is so highly valued. I want to look at the partnerships the Guggenheim is forming with governments and the private sector, how these are structured, what benefit each party derives from these arrangements and how these partnerships impact on exhibition and curatorial decisions. And finally the role the architecture itself plays in the museum.


Guggenheim Foundation

Gateway site to Guggenheim Museums worldwide including museums in New York, Venice, Las Vegas, Berlin and Bilbao and corporate site with key links to permanent collection, education programmes, press releases etc.

Guggenheim Venice

Guggenheim Bilbao

Guggenheim Berlin

Guggenheim Las Vegas

Guggenheim partner sites
Deutsche Bank

Other relevant museum sites

Newspaper articles

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

New York Times - Guggenheim and Abu Dhabi Plan Museum There by Carol Vogel
Guardian - Guggenheim to build museum in Abu Dhabi by Suzanne Goldenberg
Gulf Weekly - Abu Dhabi is actually branded with four words - 'you will come back'.

Thomas Krens, Director of Guggenheim Foundation

Village Voice
Opinion Journal
New York Times
New York Times

Guggenheim expansion strategy

New York Times
New York Times

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