Robin Cembalest

  • the Moderna Museet

    THOUGH 1958 is given as the founding date of Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, the institution really came to life in the early ’60s. That was when Pontus Hulten, its first director, energized the place by forging relationships with such figures as Marcel Duchamp, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jean Tinguely, staging a pioneer survey of Pop art, and assembling the basis of what is now one of Europe’s leading contemporary collections. In 1973 Hulten left his native Sweden to jump-start the Centre Georges Pompidou. The Moderna Museet, meanwhile, began to lose its edge.

    That’s a trend the institution’s new

  • the new Guggenheims

    LAST SUMMER, as workers were putting the finishing touches on the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, local booksellers were offering two accounts of how an American-run institution had come to stand in the heart of Basque country. One, Guggenheim Bilbao: Crónica de una Seducción (Guggenheim Bilbao: chronicle of a seduction), uses copious quotes from Baudrillard’s work and Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” to recount how Guggenheim Foundation director Thomas Krens, a “professional seducer,” tricked Basque politicians into pledging $100 million from public coffers for an imperialist enterprise that many other