Guggenheim Announces Major New Initiative


Though there will be no new Frank Gehry building to rival that in Bilbao, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has embarked on an expansion.

Officially titled the Guggenheim UBS Map Global Art Initiative, the project seeks to enhance the institution’s permanent collection with works from various regions of the globe in order to, in director Richard Armstrong’s words, “challenge our Western-centric views of art history.”

Over the next five years, the foundation will invite curators from South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East to participate in overlapping two-year residencies at the Guggenheim museum in New York. Each curator will help identify recent works that best reflect the artistic preoccupations of their regions, to be acquired by the foundation and featured in future exhibitions in New York and at two other cultural institutions.  A series of public and online programs related to cross cultural exchange will supplement the exhibitions.

Swiss bank UBS will finance the initiative. UBS has previously sponsored many art-related ventures, though it is rumored that the Guggenheim’s global venture represents the largest investment the bank has yet made in an artistic endeavor, according to a report in the New York Times.

June Yap, curator for South and Southeast Asia, is first to begin her residency. Ms. Yap, 38, lives in Singapore and has worked at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum. Recently, she organized an exhibition of the work of Ho Tzu Nyen at the 2011 Venice Biennial. Yap’s exhibition with the Guggenheim is slated to open in New York next winter, with curators for the remaining regions to be announced in the coming months.