Thursday, 28 February 2008

Krens resigns!

Thomas Krens, director of the Guggenheim Foundation, resigned yesterday after a controversial and combative 20 year reign. Article here. He will be remembered for increasing the popular appeal of the Guggenheim New York with superficial blockbusters like the infamous "Art of the Motorcycle" and for the expansion of the Guggenheim "brand" internationally. He can be blamed as much as anyone for the infiltration of this sort of corporate speak into the museum. Despite the fact that he is a member of the Williams College Mafia of students trained in art history by the great S. Lane Faison Jr., Krens' highest degree is an MBA and he has run the Guggenheim like a corporation. While he professionalized the administration and streamlined decision making and enjoyed a great success in the construction of the Guggenheim Bilbao, he alienated many members of staff and the board. From the Times article, it appears that he was finally forced out by the board after they realized that potential hires were reluctant to work under Krens.

This adds another directorial vacancy to an already long list at major museums in the States. One can only hope that the Guggenheim learns from the trouble with Krens and selects a scholar-director to replace him and restore the reputation of the Foundation to its former heights.

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