The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will be adding a second location in New York, where it will “consolidate its staff and art storage into one efficient, multiuse building with a dynamic public programming component,” according to an online job listing. The news was first reported earlier today in the Art Newspaper, though a job listing on the Guggenheim’s website containing the information mentioned in that report seems to be the source. The notice, for the position of “Curator, Urban Studies and Digital Initiatives,” has been up for at least five months, and explains that the job in question is tied to both the Guggenheim Helsinki and a local expansion project called “Collection Center”:
The Guggenheim is about to embark on the construction of a collection center that will consolidate its staff and art storage into one efficient, multiuse building with a dynamic public programming component that will herald the museum’s further engagement with its local audiences in New York City.
The curator will participate on the planning task force for this endeavor, which will consider the possibility of an architectural competition and will research productive and hospitable office space designs so that the project will ensure the Guggenheim’s reputation for being a visionary architectural patron. The curator will also participate in sustained public outreach in order to understand and better communicate with the local community in which the site is located. As plans develop, the curator will contribute to the formulation of the public programming component of the project.
Before delving into the history of the museum’s various satellite projects and franchises, the listing opens by stating that the institution “has always taken an innovative approach to its engagement with architecture.” “Instead of compiling collections or archives” on the “transformative effect of architecture and design,” it continues, “the museum commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design its landmark building in New York City.”
This marks the Guggenheim’s second venture in New York away from its Upper East Side perch, with the Guggenheim Soho having operated from 1992 to 2001. A Rudy Giuliani–approved, Frank Gehry–designed plan for a downtown Guggenheim on the East River was also abandoned by the museum in 2002. The foundation’s competition for the design of its controversial proposed Guggenheim Helsinki closed earlier this month with 1,715 submissions, and a counter-competition is currently in progress.
The museum’s deputy director, Ari Weisman, told the Art Newspaper the Helsinki competition was “typically Finnish” (whatever that means), adding that the institution does not intend to “replicate what happened in Bilbao,” an apparent reference to arguments against what has been called the “Bilbao Effect” made by some of the project’s detractors.
It’s worth noting, again, that most completed Guggenheim satellite projects have shuttered: of the Guggenheim Las Vegas, Guggenheim Hermitage (also in Las Vegas), Guggenheim Soho, Deutsche Guggenheim, and Guggenheim Bilbao, only the last remains.
A spokesperson for the Guggenheim declined to provide the Art Newspaper with additional information.