JP Väisänen:

Guggenheim for Finnish Art is as important as Mac Donald´s for Finnish gastronomy

JPV(fotos de     

(Fotos de Toivo Koivisto)

City of Helsinki has paid almost 2 million Euros for Guggenheim Foundation to explain us how to make art business in Finland. Two million is almost half of City´s museums budgets so nobody can deny that a huge investment in promoting a private, New York run art business has already been done. 

Now it is in the hands of the political elite in Helsinki city council to decide if tax payer’s money  up till 300 million Euros  will be used to establish an US-art business project in Helsinki. Minister of culture Paavo Arhinmäki has no money for Guggenheim because of bad governmental politics in culture. Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen has spoken in public in favor for the Guggenheim project. That means that there is a possibility that right wing politicians will find funding for Guggenheim despite the current economical situation and the logic of never ending cutting lists in public services.

 The day Guggenheim project was presented I did a food protest performance at Mac Donald´s Mannerheimintie in the center of Helsinki. In the performance I bought a hamburger, fries and a Coke, sat down with the meal, put labels  “ Mac Donald´s Guggenheim”, “Tennispalatsi in Memoriam”  and  “Good bye City Museum of the Arts” on the Mac Donald´s brands products. After labeling the hamburger, fries and the Coke I understood that the lunch was impossible to eat and left the tray untouched.  My message in this performance is clear. Guggenheim for Finnish Art is as important as Mac Donald´s is for Finnish gastronomy. I am happy if Helsinki can lift up the cultural budget but it can´t be done so that we lose our own Museum of the Arts and in future no public institution will collect contemporary art in Helsinki. There are no plans or budgets for Guggenheim to collect any art work.

I am sure if the famous almost two millions, that was wasted in promoting Guggenheim had been given to artists, several hundreds of radical ideas would have came up. But the question in Guggenheim has not been about art or about how to make Helsinki an important center for world´s art lovers. In Guggenheim it is about commercial art, promotion and business.

Artist´s Museum is my alternative for Guggenheim art business. I bet you might like it!

Artist’s Museum

Let´s imagine that City of Helsinki makes a 20-year contract (same time as Guggenheim license) with artists living and working in the city. For artists contract with the city would mean a free working and storage room for 20 years.

As compensation for free space artists would present their art work at the walls of their new city studios. Art would be presented on the inside or outside walls of the working space depending of the nature of the art and the artist. This would create an living all the time changing exhibition and performance for art lovers in Helsinki. Artist´s Museum would be the WOW-idea that might make people travel from faraway places to see something special like uncensored art in a museum with a radical concept.

Artist’s Foundation 

There would be a need to form “an artist’s foundation”. One of the foundation´s tasks would be to organize and curate larger art exhibitions.  All artists participating in “the Artist´s Museum” would serve as free exhibition material.

Pedagogical point

In Finland in basic education there is always a period where students leave the school and  go to a ”real job”. Students get experience of working life. Artist’s Foundation would offer schools possibilities to invite students to explore the realities of artist´s work. Foundation couldn´t obligate all the artists to take part in pedagogical service program. But for sure there would be a number of artists that would need assistants to take part in their artistic processes. Collaboration in between the Artist´s Foundation, Schools and other institutions providing educational skills would offer artist´s those possibilities.

We would have an art museum like a living organism that would change its shape and content depending of its artists. While waiting for artist´s basic wage in Artist´s Museum one could ask money for the art presented in the museum.

JP Väisänen

Conceptual Artist,