Mighty Guggenheim

Guggenheim has surely succeeded in one respect – like phoenix the discussion rises from the ashes. After Timo Soini rapping against it (http://areena.yle.fi/1-3457840), the discussion is again on the table. The art scene in Finland has reassured its positions. It seems as if there is one very influential part lobbying for the project, whereas most of the comments in social media are kindly welcoming the big G – as long as it is not made with public money. Tricky tricky. Reading today’s article at HS (http://www.hs.fi/kulttuuri/a1474164600770) I was still leaning for the no-public-money-side until I read the lines ”Helsingin kuluja hankkeessa voi verrata vaikka siihen, että kaupunki voi panna rahaa yli sata miljoonaa euroa Herttoniemen liikenneympyrän purkamiseen.” Now we’re talking politics! In arts, 100 million is a whole lotta money, but it seems like in other projects it is negotiable. Well, the Herttoniemi roundabout renewal will be done with less money due to the economic situation, but 130 million as starting point for ”remont” for a roundabout does seem like an exaggeration (coming from the fingertops of a bicyclist, though…)  Here, we make decisions about values. Should we invest the money on something that stimulates the mind and spirit, or car-driving?

The big G would also bring in well-needed jobs for the city. Does not sound too bad now, does it? Well, I guess up until this point we are rather unanimous (except rap-Timo). Guggenheim seems like a good investment. But. We do have something more to discuss. Whereas the other side claims the city to instead invest the money to create either a completely new museum or to develop HAM, the other side considers Guggenheim to be the solution. Guggenheim is supposed to bring tourist queues and a never-ending money flow to the city with it’s brand. But aren’t we forgetting something here? Guggenheim exists in 10 places already – it is not unique! We are living times, when stuff that is unique and individual is what people want. Even LVMH strongly differentiates its brands as it has discovered people are not interested in supporting superconglomerates.

So, if we count the pro’s and con’s

+ museum brings jobs and cash flows

+ society reflecting values beyond driving

– Guggenheim’s brand emcumberance

= Maybe we should create a new kind of museum?

Maija Kasvinen



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