Helsinki is split into two: the pro-Guggenheim league and the anti-Guggenheim one.
The Guggenheim group has connections in Finland through the director of Helsinki Art Museum, Mr. Gallén-Kallela-Sirén (heir to two powerful art and design families) and Mr. Ehrnroot the Finnish member of the board of the Guggenheim Foundation and art collector. Helsinki came up as the next and last European city to house a Guggenheim Museum.
The G-team came over to this charming Northern small capital, collected big money and did their survey to decide whether Helsinki is worth a Guggenheim Museum or not. The verdict was: Yes, you can have us!
The pro-G league was ecstatic. The anti-G league frowned and growled.
Then came the estimate costs of such a Gigantic, Grandiose, and Gargantuan G-Museum project.
The pro-G league sees euro-bills just pouring down over the Guggenheim Museum, which of course will be designed by Frank Gehry or Jean Nouvelle or one of those other wow-architecture superguys. You know, everybody will just fly into Helsinki to see the new amazing G-Museum with its curves and antennae and inclined walls and metallic UFO-likeness and whatnot! And of course, the wonderful contemporary art exposed in there.
The expenses? Oh well, a few hundred million euros here and there. But hey! What's that against the unending flow of tourists and money and what even better, honor and glory and fame that the G-Museum will bring to Helsinki!
According to the anti-G league, the 315 million euros that the pro-G league says the museum will have cost the city of Helsinki by 2032, is too low an estimate. The anti-G league says the cost will be of 399 million euros. Whilst the 107,8 million that the defenders of the museum say it will produce benefit, is the estimation of a crazy hyper optimist, and in their estimation it will make only 42 million.
Besides, just for using the brand name, the city of Helsinki has to pay 24,6 million euros. Wow, that's a lotta money for just hype! Constructing the museum will cost around 130-140 million.
Big, big money!
Is any brand worth that much money? Plus, all the yearly payments for using ventures shown in other Guggenheim museums, which will amount to 70 million in 18 years and 65,8 million for all sorts of organizational jobs done by the G-Foundation.
I wonder if Mr. Solomon Guggenheim ever dreamt of his name becoming so expensive and waking up so many passions and being so utterly surrounded by hype? What a business, my, my!!! The G-Foundation risks nothing and makes millionaire gains, just for lending its brand! It's capitalism at its highest!
I guess the Guggenheim has entered through the big door of the club of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Starbucks and McDonald's. No matter what they sell, they will just drown in dollars!
Because hey, don't try to make me believe that the art shown at the Guggenheim is anyhow more magnificent or heart shaking than the art shown at Kiasma, the Contemporary Art Museum of Helsinki. Kiasma just doesn't sound so glamorous.
I just don't believe art sells in the end as well as hamburgers, soda pop or coffee. So I think the city of Helsinki should really think twice if they want to spend so much money in this hype museum and then find out in 50 years they are still not making any profit. But, on the other hand, maybe at that point, the Guggenheim can start selling hotdogs and salmon sandwiches, and maybe it'll do better!