Robin Cembalest
Executive Editor, ARTnews

Has the star-chitect overshadowed the art in museums?

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Cembalest talks about the museums that leave no room for art.

Robin Cembalest

ARTnews Executive ditor Robin Cembalest is an award-winning investigative reporter who has published articles in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and El Pais, in addition to many other newspapers and magazines in the United States and Europe.


Question: Has the star-chitect overshadowed the art in museums?

Robin Cembalest: Sometimes the role of the star-chitect can take away from the art. There have been certain institutions where the architecture was criticized for not giving a space where the art can really stand on its own. This dates back to the Guggenheim; Frank Lloyd Wright was criticized for that, and, in fact, in the Guggenheim there is some work that is very hard to show. Some work like sculpture—you’re gonna show some David Smith’s sculpture there that look fabulous. Paintings are very hard to show in Guggenheim. The other thing that happened was some of this starchitecture is that the cost--I mean there were some notorious case, there was the case with museum, the Calatrava museum in Milwaukee--where it cost more than was anticipated and the museum was perceived as not having left aside enough funds to do programming, to make exhibitions, to make acquisitions, that kind of thing, and we’ve seen that in number of institutions now, because, of course, it is so much more easy to get funding, to get donations from individuals, corporations, everyone for these fabulous additions, but nobody wants to pay to fix the roof.

Recorded on: 1/14/08