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Thomas Krens Planning Massive, For-Profit Museum in Northern Massachusetts

It's a sprawling museum to rival Mass MoCA: Thomas Krens, the Guggenheim’s former director for two decades, has proposed plans for a new 160,000-square-foot art gallery in North Adams, reports the Berkshire Eagle’s Adam Shanks.

During his time as the former director of the Williams College Museum of Art in the 1980s, Krens famously dreamed up the contemporary art museum that eventually became the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, or Mass MoCA.

Now, the Global Contemporary Collection and Museum, as Krens plans to call it, will occupy North Adams’ Harriman-West Airport grounds, and will be a privately owned, for-profit venture backed by investors. Construction costs are estimated to be ten to fifteen million dollars.

The Airport Commission unanimously agreed to begin lease negotiations with Krens, who envisions the museum starting with a collection of about 400 works of art, 40,000 square feet for storage space, and more than 100,000 square feet of exhibition space.

Krens says he’s been mulling over the concept for around five years, and that he’d initially eyed China as a location for this museum. But “the idea of spending a little more time in the Berkshires was attractive to me,” he said. “The cultural density of this place is almost there,” he added, citing the Williams College Museum of Art, the Clark Art Institute, and Mass MoCA.