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Could a New Guggenheim Museum on the Gaza Border Save the Middle East?

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The lecture delivered by Thomas Krens, director of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, at the annual conference of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya in 2016, was inspiring. After it Prof. Noam Lemelstrich Latar, Jerry Wind and Ornat Lev-Er turned to 100 artists the world over with the question: Can art solve conflicts? The answers were collected into a book.

A story that captivated me described the construction of the Guggenheim Museum in the Basque city of Bilbao in 1997 – a cultural initiative that brought economic and social revenues. But it was also a kind of declaration of independence and cultural pride by the Basques against the Spanish government.

The idea of building a branch of the Guggenheim Museum in the terror-ridden Basque region was received with skepticism, with a lack of belief that it could bring about a change there. But the idealism of Jose Ardanza, who headed the Autonomous Basque Community, the stubbornness of Krens’ Spanish advisers, and the recruitment of architect Frank Gehry led to the construction of the museum. Bilbao became an international tourism magnet, and........

© Haaretz

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