Urban development, cultural clusters: The Guggenheim Museum and its global distribution strategies

Decker, Darla J.  New York University. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2008. 3320781.

Abstract (summary)

Urban Development, Cultural Clusters explores the emergence of the cultural economy, the cultural politics of urban space, and the use of the art museum as the favored instigator for economic growth in urban development projects. The dissertation specifically examines how the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, under the leadership of Director Thomas Krens and in collaboration with various corporate and regional government partners, created a constellation of satellite museums in Venice, Bilbao, Berlin, and Las Vegas, and continues to expand with satellites in Guadalajara and Abu Dhabi. The dissertation examines the Guggenheim's expedient use of intellectual property in these global urban development projects and analyzes the cultural politics often found behind this use of public space.

Such collaborations between branded art museums and corporate and government partners come in the wake of several shifts in our social fabric, including the shift in government from its former passive managerial function to an active directorial function (i.e. the neo-liberal shift toward the entrepreneurial government). Using the scholarly work of Charles Landry regarding the "creative city" the scholarly work of Richard Florida regarding the "creative class," and the necessary complication of these arguments offered in George Yúdice's The Expediency of Culture, this dissertation offers an in-depth qualitative analysis of primary and secondary source material related to the Guggenheim Collection and their constellation of Guggenheim satellite museums.

Urban Development, Cultural Clusters contends that the use of art museums in these urban development strategies result in uneven economic distribution, the sanitization of formerly diverse urban neighborhoods, and ever-increasing class polarization in our city centers, as those without a stake in the gentrification process rarely benefit from this use of public space despite its heavy reliance on public funding. The research suggests that the use of branded art museums in urban development projects offer a dangerously expedient means to produce and police new class boundaries.

Indexing (details)

American studies;
Museum studies;
Urban planning
0323: American studies
0730: Museum studies
0999: Urban planning
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Art museums; Creative cities; Cultural economy; Culture-based urban development; Guggenheim Museum; Intellectual property; Intellectual property and the art museum; Museum studies; Urban development
Urban development, cultural clusters: The Guggenheim Museum and its global distribution strategies
Decker, Darla J.
Number of pages
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 69/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Yudice, George
Committee member
Altshuler, Bruce; Davila, Arlene; Mirzoeff, Nicholas; Ross, Andrew
New York University
Program in American Studies
University location
United States -- New York
Source type
Dissertation or Thesis
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL