O Guggenheim Bilbao está a fazer dez anos. O que era um escândalo há uma década (leia-se o livro Crónica de una Seducción, de Joseba Zuleika, ed. Nerea, Madrid, 1997 - e estão acessíveis na rede textos recentes deste antropólogo basco que ensina nos EUA) passou a ser um êxito reconhecido, em termos de desenvolvimento urbano - o resto (a Arte, com caixa alta ou baixa), importa pouco para a questão.
Este artigo refere muito bem o que acompanhou estrategicamente o processo Guggenheim.
"A franchise model for the few—very few", Adrian Ellis
The Art Newspaper - International edition
Sunday, 30 September 2007
"When the Guggenheim Bilbao opened ten years ago, it was the cornerstone of a regeneration strategy that commissioned famous and fashionable architects—“starchitects”—to build the foundations of a post-industrial future on the carcass of an industrial past. The strategy was bold in conception and focused in execution, backed by a strong national or regional (depending on perspective) Basque sensibility and significant EU structural funds. Alongside Frank Gehry’s titanium-clad icon—perhaps the only post-war building to challenge Sydney Opera House in emotional resonance and immediacy of recognition—have been designs by Cesar Pelli (riverfront renewal), Santiago Calatrava (airport and footbridge), Norman Foster (railway station), Ricardo Legorreta (a Sheraton hotel), Robert Stern (a mall) and Federico Soriano (a conference and concert hall). Zaha Hadid has subsequently been commissioned to redesign the Zorrozaurre peninsula, the nearby sprawling port area.
/ Álvaro Siza (university building), Philippe Starck (wine warehouse conversion) e Rafael Moneo (library) também por lá andam /
The strategy has been successful. In an age of heavily subsidised European air travel, this small city has, definitively, diversified beyond heavy industry and port-related commerce into a tourist destination and a focal point for the region’s service industries. The Guggenheim’s visitor numbers hit 1.3m in 1998, dipped a little subsequently and predictably, but climbed back up, passing the million mark in 2006 for the first time since 1999. Over half of the visitors are from outside Spain. For purposes of comparison, Bilbao’s population is only 350,000.
The capitals of the two other Basque Provinces (Vitoria in Alava, San Sebastian in Guipúzcoa) have followed this diversification strategy, with monographic museums of Eduardo Chillida and Jorge Oteiza, contemporary art museums and performing arts centres.
The political, social and economic benefits justify the initial investment of $100m. These were once described by Joseba Arregi, the visionary Basque Minister for Culture responsible for shepherding the plans through cabinet, as costing as less than a kilometre of new highway, a comparison his cabinet colleagues found compelling. And, critically, the Basque government provides ongoing support for annual operating costs and acquisitions, without which the museum would be another floundering vanity project. “Bilbao” has become shorthand for the reincarnation of a rundown industrial city or district into a vibrant tourist destination, the poster child of the “instrumental” rationale for capital investment in iconic architecture.
(...) The Bilbao effect — big-name architect, envelope-straining building, and high-profile cultural partner — does not seem easily replicable.
I would suggest you need at least the following five ingredients in the mix:
1. The Guggenheim is the jewel in the Basque crown—but there is a crown. The Guggenheim Bilbao is part of a much wider investment strategy that extends well beyond culture into transport, accommodation, retail and other infrastructure;
2. The investment strategy embraces not only capital but ongoing revenue support, with no fantasies about an early or eventual “break-even” period. Ten years on, the government is still solidly providing significant revenue support. Withdrawal of operating support would put the strategy in a tail-spin;
3. There are museum-goers within a reasonable “catchment” area, given transport costs. Contemporary Western art is generally enjoyed by a Western, highly educated, usually affluent population. A change in transport costs would vitiate the strategy, as would an attempt to replicate the strategy without access to this market;
4. There is a “first mover” advantage in Bilbao that is difficult to replicate. Each time another piece of highly visible, highly expressive architecture goes up anywhere—facilitated by advances in building technology, structural engineering, new materials, available funding, or sheer design flair—the overall “wow” factor of any one such icon is diminished. The museum boom has a bit of the aroma of crack cocaine—bigger and bigger hits are required to command attention;
5. The Basque country has a strong and unified political culture and, in a Europe in which regional identity increasingly trumps national identity, a regional symbol can—and in this case does—play a transcendent role. It is no coincidence that the Basque country has, in Mondragón, the world’s largest and most successful workers’ co-operative.
Adrian Ellis, director of AEA Consulting ( www.aeaconsulting.com ) and regular contributor to The Art Newspaper