The Guggenheim Museum Will Stay in Bilbao Until 2034
The Guggenheim is staying in Bilbao, well, at least for the time being. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation announced yesterday that it was renewing its agreement with the Basque museum until 2034.
Since its opening in 1997, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has welcomed almost 17 million visitors and staged over 140 exhibitions. The success of the museum was so remarkable from the onset that it quickly triggered the redevelopment of the formerly decrepit port area of Bilbao and bolstered tourism in the entire Basque Country.
The catchphrase “Guggenheim effect” was coined soon after to describe museum-led regeneration process.
The institution was the product of the then-nascent museum franchise model. The Basque government agreed to pay for the construction of the building, the annual budget of the museum, and a handsome fee to the Guggenheim Foundation; in exchange, the foundation agreed to manage the Bilbao museum, organize temporary exhibitions, and loan part of its permanent collection to be displayed there.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao building, designed by architect Frank Gehry, became a sensation when it was first unveiled to the public. Bilbao was the first of a series of high-profile museum commissions for Gehry, the latest of which is the Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris, which launched last October (see “Take a Sneak Peak at the Fondation Louis Vuitton”).
“We are delighted that our collaboration with colleagues in Bilbao, which has been so successful for more than 20 years, will continue for two more decades,” said Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. “The terms of the agreement create exciting new opportunities that will benefit both institutions, our professional staff, and the growing public on site and online who enjoy the Guggenheim Bilbao.”
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