The Guggenheim, despite its unparalleled architectural pedigree, world-class collection of modern art, pretty great contemporary art programming, and crowd-sourced video art, has had very mixed results with its efforts to go global. Bilbao worked, Abu Dabhi is… happening? Las Vegas flopped. Its latest plans for expansion are starkly different: a vacant East Village lot, and Helsinki.
Yesterday, the Times‘ Carol Vogel reports, the city of Helsinki announced that it had commissioned the Guggenheim Foundation to do a feasibility study for a possible Guggenheim Finland. If the results of the study are promising, which many art bloggers find laughably unlikely, the new museum would join the global family of Guggs in New York, Venice, Bilbao, Berlin and Abu Dhabi (where work on the foundations of the Frank Gehry-designed building have reportedly just gotten underway). Feasibility studies in Rio de Janeiro and Taiwan came back negative, and plans for an outpost in Hong Kong fell through. Helsinki forked over some $2.5 million just to get the Guggenheim foundation to come for the feasibility study, which should be done by the end of the year.
Much sooner, much closer, and somewhat less randomly, the Guggenheim New York will be taking over a famously rat-infested vacant lot in the East Village this spring. DNAinfo reports that the space at 33 East 1st Street, between First and Second Avenues, will host a temporary two-story structure (rendered above) that would begin construction in April, open in August and be dismantled in October to hit the road.
The pop-up park would function primarily as an event space for public workshops, community events, performances, lectures and cooking classes (don’t feed the rats!). It would also connect to the small under-renovation park across the street on Houston, where public bathrooms and a cafe would be set up for the duration of the pop-up. The space would be open from noon to 9pm on weekdays and 10am to 10pm on weekends. The project would involve re-leveling the city-owned lot, which neighbors hope till help with the rodent infestation. The Guggenheim’s partner on the pop-up is BMW, so maybe we’ll even get an art car out of this deal.
(Gothamist, photo courtesy DNAinfo)