On Tom Krens’ Legacy (Modern Art Notes)

Thomas Krens’ 17-year reign as director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is over. Starting on October 1, the Guggenheim’s deputy director and chief curator, Lisa Dennison, will take over the museum. (Krens, who had been the director of the Guggenheim Foundation as well as the museum’s director, will continue to run the Foundation.)

With Krens’ departure, so ends one of the most remarkable tenures of any museum director in American history. He drew down the museum’s endowment to pay for operating expenses, contributed mightily to the blockbusterization of museum exhibitions, engaged in questionable deaccessioning-related accounting, and built the Guggenheim Bilbao, which helped usher in an era of destination architecture. In the end, Krens’ most lasting legacy is this: He made the creation of synergies between non-profit art museums and for-profit corporations acceptable to his peers. More than anything else, that’s made him the most influential museum director in America. (more…)