Building Culture, Changing Societies:

Bilbao, Abu Dhabi, Changsha, North Adams and the Red Sea

May 23, 2018
7 - 8 p.m.

The Nasher Sculpture Center and the Dallas Architecture Forum are pleased to present a lecture with Thomas Krens, Director Emeritus of Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Mr. Krens will talk about the importance of art and architecture in shaping the life of cities and changing societies.

The point of departure will be a brief summary of a series of influential projects he has either lead or played a major role in developing—from MASS MoCA some 30 years ago to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (Frank Gehry) in the early 1990’s and the Saadiyat Island Cultural District in Abu Dhabi, which includes the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi (Jean Nouvel); from the Meixi Lake Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Changsha, Hunan Province, China (Zaha Hadid) to a suite of five new museums currently under development in Western Massachusetts; concluding with an overview of a utopian “Hub for the Arts” in Saudi Arabia, a project just beginning on an island in the Red Sea.

While architecture tends to plays a central public role in these highly visible cultural development projects, Mr. Krens will use specific examples from the six projects to discuss initial motivation; the essential links to a specific political agenda intended to improve the quality of life in a given region; the stages of the planning process; the dialogue between form and content; the importance of architecture relative to specific sites; the importance of scale and platform to discursive relevance; anticipated economic impacts; and the complexities of implementation and cultural sustainability.

As Director and Chief Artistic Officer of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation (1988-2008), Thomas Krens was responsible for the operation of five museums - the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum (New York), The Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Venice), the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (Spain), The Deutsche Guggenheim (Berlin, and the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum (Las Vegas). During his 20 year tenure at the Guggenheim Foundation, Mr. Krens was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees from Yale University (2004), Williams College (2003), and the State University of New York at Albany (1990); the Golden Lion Prize for Architectural Patronage at the Venice Architecture Biennale (2000); the Lifetime Achievement Award, Americans for the Arts (2007); and decorated with the Order of the Aztec Eagle by the Government of Mexico (2007), and the Order of Friendship by the Government of the Russian Federation (2009), the highest awards bestowed on foreign nationals by those countries respectively.


Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.