In an attempt to challenge the Western-centric view of art history, the Guggenheim foundation has launched a five year program where international curators from South-East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa will be invited to participate in a two-year stint to create temporary exhibitions and acquisitions in relation to these areas.
The project, entitled “Map Guggenheim UBS Global Art Initiative”, is supported by the Swiss bank UBS. The New York Times suggests the sponsorship will be some 40 million dollars, which would be the largest Investment UBS has made in an art initiative, and the biggest such project the Guggenheim has ever taken on. Jürg Zeltner, chief executive of UBS Wealth Management, states that “since the art is increasingly becoming a form of investment, UBS is trying to raise its profile in these special fields. We are moving more and more our strategy to reach emerging markets, and this project seemed perfect.” Kicking off the project will be June Yap, an esteemed curator in Singapore with a background at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Singapore and the SingaporeArt Museum and who most recently organized an exhibition of the work of Ho Tzu Nyen for the Singapore Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale. Countries currently being considered by Yap are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. The second and third phases of the project will focus on Latin America and the Middle East and North Africa.