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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 July, 2003, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Guggenheim may open in Taiwan
By Lawrence Pollard
In Bilbao

Zaha Hadid's model of the Taichung Guggenheim
A model of the museum has been built by architect Zaha Hadid
The Guggenheim Foundation, one of the world's biggest cultural brands, is proposing a possible gallery complex for Taiwan to join its string of international sites.

The Guggenheim has developed the formula of using extraordinary museum buildings to attract visitors and fuel economic regeneration - most famously in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao.

The Taiwanese city of Taichung is the latest to pin its hopes for international cultural recognition and economic regeneration on the Guggenheim Foundation.

The plan is for a trademark signature museum building, this time an eye-catching design with moveable sections by architect Zaha Hadid, an opera house and other cultural projects.

The Guggenheim will decide in September whether to approve the plan, but these are uncertain times.

Guggenheim Bilbao
Bilbao has had a massive tourist boost from its Guggenheim

Under its controversial director Thomas Krenz, the Guggenheim has had extraordinary success, particularly with its museum in Bilbao, and with its populist exhibitions policy.

But recently, global visitor numbers have dropped, the Las Vegas branch has been closed, the Rio de Janeiro Guggenheim is being held up, and plans for a new New York branch are on hold too.

The business model is for the host city to pay to use the Guggenheim brand with the museum then being filled by a rotation of the foundation's vast art holdings.

If the $170m (106m) Taichung project gets the go ahead, market research suggests it could become a cultural centre for Asia, but critics will watch carefully to see if the Bilbao effect can be so easily recreated.




SEE ALSO:
Las Vegas Guggenheim shuts
06 Jan 03  |  Entertainment
Guggenheim scraps expansion plans
31 Dec 02  |  Entertainment
Motorbike art pulls into Vegas
05 Oct 01  |  Entertainment
New Guggenheim ruffles NYC
22 Apr 00  |  Americas


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