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Published: 9 march 2012 11:15

Vilnius revives old idea of building Hermitage/Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheimo muziejus (Z.Hadid projektas)
Projektų autorių vizualizacijos / Vilnius Guggenheim/Hermitage Museum project by Zaha Hadid

Vilnius is reviving the idea of building a Hermitage/Guggenheim Museum in Lithuania's capital city. On Thursday, Culture Minister Arūnas Gelūnas told journalists he had discussed the idea with Vilnius City Mayor Artūras Zuokas who supported the idea of developing the project.

"The core in the collection of the museum would be part of the Hermitage collection," Gelūnas said.

In his words, the arrival of Mikhail Piotrovsky, director general of the St. Petersburg-based Hermitage Museum, is a good footing for future cooperation.

Piotrovsky said he would meet with Zuokas on Friday.

"I believe the global network of various museums and exhibition centers is a very good idea," said the head of the Hermitage, adding that a Hermitage/Guggenheim had been established in Las Vegas, in addition to Hermitage centers operating in Amsterdam, Kazan and Italy.

The project had drawn controversial reactions in Lithuania, and Vilnius prosecutors opened an investigation into large-scale embezzlement in August of 2010. Rita Stundienė of the Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office confirmed to BNS on Thursday that the investigation was still in progress.

It was launched in response to conclusions of the State Audit Office, which said that the Vilnius municipality had unlawfully earmarked 810,000 litas (EUR 235,000) for the Jonas Mekas Center of Visual Arts, which the center later spent on the Guggenheim project.

The initial plan was that the museum designed by London-based Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid would be built next to the White Bridge in the Lithuanian capital.

Projektų autorių vizualizacijos/Planuoto Guggenheimo muziejaus vidus (Z.Hadid projektas)
Projektų autorių vizualizacijos/Planuoto Guggenheimo muziejaus vidus (Z.Hadid projektas)


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