The Guggenheim wants in Helsinki – oh no!

The mood at the editorial office is distraught. Helsinki’s South Harbour, quite a fantastic piece of existing city, is at risk from the unholy alliance of creative city doctrine and international architecture.

See here for some good views on it from wonderful The Next Helsinki team.

Earlier today the winner of the prize for the notional Helsinki Guggenheim Art Museum was unveiled. There has been quite a lot of enthusiasm, even from unexpected quarters.

Guggenheim entriesIt’s unlikely that the jury ever concentrated on its task in the manner we Helsinkians deserve, given that there were 1 715 entries (some featured above, more on the G website).

And JHJ is not impressed by the architectural merits of the winning entry, Moreau Kusunoki’s dark tower called Art in the City (but Beacon/Majakka as well).

It looks glum and too tall and totally unsuitable for the waterfront.

Art in the CityNobody here in the editorial offices here knows anyone who wants this thing – in pretty much any shape or form. (But especially not this Moominvalley wannabe glumness!)

There’s also no money for it. There’s no planning consent. The city already turned the idea down once. Officially. There’s little desire for it among ordinary people and not much among artists.

Those of us who desire the Guggenheim Foundation to eff off, frequently get told that were we more cosmopolitan we would want it.

At one point we all (at least here at JHJ) thought the horrible thing had been sent on its way. But no.

A very strong desire for it is coming from somewhere.

The politics is horrible but then the idea of the Guggenheim interfering [sic] in our art world as well as the cityscape, was always going to be controversial.

Proponents, including the country’s biggest daily newspaper, have spewed endless supportive propaganda for a Guggenheim. A little less outrageously, the G Foundation briefed Miltton Communications Group to do its propaganda locally (so-called public relations and marketing being the way business manipulates public opinion).

Given that the post-industrial economy we live in produces mostly data-fog and commercial entertainment, it’s not surprising that information about the museum is abundant but rather untrustworthy.

For Finnish-speakers, however, I do recommend listening to this YLE radio interview with architect and critic Tarja Nurmi. She covers many, many of the shortcomings of the project in a short space of time. Starts at around 9 mins into the programme.

It’s all so upsetting we can’t possibly pursue this any more.


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