Guggenheim Helsinki: Actors against each other

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Maaria Linko


In a connection with today’s competition between cities to portray an alluring image of economic and cultural success, the City of Helsinki and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation put forward a plan to establish a Guggenheim museum in Helsinki, Finland. Following the plan’s release, a heated public debate emerged in the media. The article studies this debate by analyzing the various justifications that the different actors used during the debate. The article shows that justifications different actors used in their arguments proved so distant from each other that proper dialogue did not take place but merely the emphasis on the economic risk of this museum project became dominant. Further, the article interprets on why the museum plan was rejected in the first deliberation. The nationalistic ideology had an impact in the rejection of museum plan. Also failures in the marketing communication were evident. The City seems have followed a top-down model in communication in a culture in which citizens and other actors call discussion and participation into play.

Keywords: Guggenheim, museums, cultural regeneration, justifications, cultural policy of cities

Maaria Linko

VTT, dosentti, yliopistonlehtori, Helsingin yliopisto