MoMA, Guggenheim Sunk in Hong Kong

hongkongcenter MoMA, Guggenheim Sunk in Hong Kong
The Foster design.

Plans for a cultural center in Hong Kong that would have included space for MoMA and Guggenheim museums have been scratched.

The Times says:

The decision is a setback for several major museums. The Georges Pompidou Center in Paris and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Museum of Modern Art in New York had been vying for the right to run museums at the cultural center, which was to be several times the size of Lincoln Center.

The proximate cause was the pull-out of local real-estate interests from the project, which is why officials are saying the project just needs to be tweaked out a bit to get back on track. But the Times cites longstanding objections to the project by Hong Kong artists, who felt too much control was being ceded to foreign arts institutions, and the public, which saw the project as a developers’ boondoggle.

Tom Krens, whom we like to think of as a sort-of 21st Century Fitzcarraldo, had called the project “the most exciting opportunity in the world because of the scale and the location.”

Sorry, guys.

Meanwhile, the Asia Society’s frontman, former U.N. ambassador Richard Holbrooke, is having more luck: tomorrow, Robin Pogrebin reports, he’ll announce plans to build a $52 million satellite in Hong Kong, at a Waldorf gala for the society. The designers are Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.

- Tom McGeveran