The Deutsche Guggenheim had illustrious visitors. At the Berlin exhibition hall, Richard Armstrong, who has been the director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum since November 2008, talked with Nancy Spector, the chief curator of the New York Guggenheim Museum, about perspectives and objectives of the Guggenheim museums around the world and the special position of the Berlin exhibition hall in the association of museums. The discussion, attended by 200 visitors, was moderated by Michael Kimmelman. The Berlin-based journalist is the chief art critic of the New York Times and reports on the cultural scene in Europe in his column Abroad.
During the talk, Armstrong said that after such historical survey shows as Russia! the programs of the Guggenheim museums will now again focus exclusively on works from classical modern to contemporary art. When asked about how the Guggenheim Foundation intends to react to the current turbulence on the financial markets, he said it is more a matter of intellectual than spatial expansion. In his opinion, it is particularly important today for the Guggenheim museums to mount relevant exhibitions. Another goal is to tighten cooperation between the different museums to enhance intercultural exchange. Furthermore, the local effect of the individual museums is to be heightened. To this end, the museums in Bilbao and Abu Dhabi are building their own collections with an emphasis on works by indigenous artists.
Within the association of museums, the Deutsche Guggenheim plays, in the words of Nancy Spector, the role of a laboratory. In her view, the Berlin exhibition hall primarily serves as a platform for experimental projects by contemporary artists. Moreover, in the unique joint venture between the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Deutsche Bank an exhibition is staged each year featuring works from the Deutsche Bank Collection. The Deutsche Guggenheim also offers the possibility of commissioned works being realized which subsequently can be shown in other museums. The curator does not only see the tense economic situation as a challenge. Since Barack Obama took office if not earlier, Spector perceives a new energy particularly in young artists, which she believes will become noticeable at the museums. Armstrong concluded the discussion by saying that the goal is to continue the spirit of modern art, to which the Guggenheim Museum owes its existence, in the current work of the museums. Or as he put it: to keep the flame alive.