Guggenheim Foundation Looks Into Building Its Next Museum in Helsinki

Recession? What recession? Despite having some stumbles along the way last year, from being denied the option to build their own food kiosk to having their finances pried into by the newspaper, things are apparently going pretty well for the Guggenheim Foundation. Yesterday in Helsinki, the city’s mayor announced that they would be working with the Guggenheim in the hopes of installing a new Foundation museum (pdf). The commissioned study will reportedly take most of 2011 to complete, looking into “topics including the possible mission and structure of an innovative, multidisciplinary art museum in Finland” and “the form that its exhibition and education programs might take,” as well as other factors (including, of course, what sort of “economic impact” it will have for the Guggenheim). This new development, coming on the heels of the Foundation’s on-going construction in Abu Dhabi of another new museum (though that also hit a recent hurdle with the sudden departure of former director Thomas Krens), certainly makes it appear that the organization has weathered this economic storm of the last few years fairly well. Here’s a statement about the Helsinki proposition from the Guggenheim’s director, Richard Armstrong:

“Finnish people are reluctant to boast. So let me be the one to say that Finland is unquestionably poised for a greater role within the world’s cultural scene. Finland’s identity has always been defined to a remarkable degree by education, architecture and design, and its vigorous, sophisticated culture has made a mark internationally. But civic leaders, cultural observers and artists in Finland believe much more has become possible — and we wholeheartedly agree. For the Guggenheim, this study with Finland is a very compelling opportunity to continue our investigations into the possibilities of global interchange, to offer the expertise our network has acquired and to work with respected fellow museum professionals such as Helsinki’s representative to the initiative, Janne Gallen-Kallela-Siren.”

Certainly not a bad thing to have going on in advance of 2012, when Helsinki steps in and gets some more artist press when it serves as the World Design Capital for the year.