by Hilmar Kopper/1999

A banker who is weak with numbers? Unheard of. A bank lacking a commitment to culture? Unlikely. A museum director who is obliged to spend more time working on financial analyses than on picture analyses? Sadly, this is the situation museums are increasingly facing. So why not take the logical step of joining forces to assume social responsibility and perform public functions? Such a cooperation is particularly fruitful if it amounts to more than a mere addition of art and capital, is aimed at creating value added that exceeds each partner's potential were he to go it alone. Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin is the product of this thought process.

The idea
After the fall of the Wall, Deutsche Bank had the opportunity to combine the revolution in the east with a return to the settings of its historical beginnings in Berlin. While the bank's older building with the well-known Schwibbogen (flying buttresses) situated on Mauer and Französische Strasse had already been earmarked in connection with the government's move to Berlin, the Bank was able to purchase the business premises of the Disconto-Gesellschaft - the bank Deutsche Bank had merged with in 1929 - from the Treuhand in 1992.
The two buildings on the corner of Unter den Linden/Charlottenstrasse were refurbished according to the plans of Berlin architect Benedict Tonon. When restoring the plain building from the '20s and the red historic sandstone building constructed 1889/91, Deutsche Bank sought to restore the original appearance of the buildings and integrate them into the Unter den Linden setting. Its interior, however, is fitted with ultramodern equipment and technology. From here, the Bank steers its business operations in Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and northern Saxony-Anhalt.
Right from the start, the building's long room facing the boulevard was intended for public use to revive the traditional Unter den Linden boulevard. There were suggestions for a cultural forum as well as for other uses - however, there was no thoroughly convincing idea. That changed after a meeting with Thomas Krens in New York in July 1996. The Director of the Guggenheim Museum had previously expressed his interest in Berlin in connection with the global expansion of the Guggenheim Foundation. The bank building in the city centre - in the immediate vicinity of the museum island and the gallery districts surrounding Auguststrasse -, the bank's commitment to the arts and his own plans meshed perfectly. Two partners had found each other, both innovative in their own areas, who, despite their domestic focus, operated on a global scale and had already realized numerous joint exhibition projects. Viewings and discussions followed and a concept soon emerged that envisaged a unique joint venture between a museum and a company:
- An exhibition hall Unter den Linden was to be jointly planned and managed and
- both would commission internationally renowned but also young artists to create new works for the exhibition hall in Berlin.
This idea was realized with the official opening on November 6, 1997 and the exhibitions staged since go well beyond previous forms of cooperation between industry and art.
Private forms of cultural sponsorship had existed already. For example, there were companies which operated their own art halls or museums, lent financial support to public art institutes or extended loans. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York and Deutsche Bank AG in Frankfurt am Main, however, manage the exhibition forum as equal partners. Both institutions contribute their specific intellectual and material capital to the joint venture:
the Guggenheim Foundation the knowledge of its curators, their numerous contacts with lenders and artists around the world and the foundation's own exceptional art collections. The Bank lends to the project its many years of experience, above all in contemporary art, its business know-how, its art collection, the building and the necessary financial funding.
These intentions find expression in the project's grammatically unusual but deliberately chosen name: Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin. "Deutsche" here is not an adjective referring to a Guggenheim branch, but rather - like the colour and namestyle - is a synonym and element of the name of the partner Deutsche Bank.

The partners

The global expansion of the Guggenheim Foundation, driven by Thomas Krens, is necessary and understandable given the objective of generating the maximum publicity for outstanding art and making the most effective use of scarce resources. The interests of the donators and artists would certainly not be served if the bulk of the collection were to lie in storage, not owing to a lack in quality but in exhibition space. Moreover, the addition of further locations substantially reduces the costs for their presentation at one location. Consequently, as long as there are there are no curatorial objections, each museum manager who does not happen to have won in the lottery or is not a Getty millionaire must recognize to need to plan beyond his regional horizon.
American art in all its variety largely originated on the basis of private initiative. It is supported and, in the absence of public funds, dependent on private funding. In the United States, donations per capita and year average DM 1,200, but only DM 170 in Germany. U.S. citizens spend 12 thousanths of their annual income on charitable causes - Germans, however, only three (Manager Magazin, June 1998, page 231). Despite these private contributions, however, museums are well advised to become economically independent in the long term - apart from the necessary acquisition of funds - not as an end in itself, but to safeguard their cultural mission. Given the current trend towards more leisure time and a growing interest in the arts, their chances of achieving this are better than ever.
Convinced that the immediate experience of outstanding art is vital and intellectually beneficial to any society, Deutsche Bank has consistently supported the cultural exchange and visual experience of contemporary art since the '70s through its own art collection and by presenting it under the motto "art at the workplace".
Works on paper are purchased and exhibited on bank premises to support young artists from German-speaking countries. This commitment allows staff, clients and the bank's guests to encounter contemporary art outside museums and galleries. The exhibits in the Twin Towers at Head Office Frankfurt am Main are an example of Deutsche Bank's collection. Each of the 55 floors of the Twin Towers opened in 1985 is devoted to the works of one artist, lending character to each floor and documenting the artist's development.
Deutsche Bank's commitment to contemporary art is not only limited to Head Office Frankfurt. To date, more than 700 branches, including 60 foreign branches, have been furnished with artworks. In cooperation with the individual branches and subsidiaries, individual concepts arise on the basis of which artworks are exhibited in new or converted buildings. A variant on this is the bank's furnishing of its foreign branches where works by contemporary German artists and those by young national artists are hung side by side, often leading to interesting dialogues and parallels. This gives the collection an international character, a fitting reflection of the development of the art scene and the bank's profile.
As a continuation of this long-standing commitment to the fine arts and as a new forward-looking strategy, Deutsche Bank and Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin share four common goals:
- It is one of the many services whereby we fulfil our obligation, as laid down in the Basic Law, to the society of which we are part. In particular, this is our contribution to Berlin's development as a European metropolis.
- With special tours and events, we give our customers an opportunity to encounter outstanding artists and their works. Catalogues and editions are welcome gifts, and the atrium is also an ideal venue for events hosted by the companies themselves.
- We broaden our cultural offering to our staff who benefit from our cooperation with the Guggenheim worldwide, for example through free admissions, special guided tours and special price offers for catalogues and items from our MuseumShop.
- Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin is an advertisement for Deutsche Bank's global expertise, quality and innovate potential.

The venue
We were able to win American architect Richard Gluckman who designed the exhibition hall. His design reduces the 8 meter wide, 50 meter long and 6 meter high room to a long rectangle. The extensive modern technical equipment is nearly invisible, the furniture, also designed by Gluckman, reduced to cubic forms and the Terazzo floor as neutral as possible. This reduction leaves ample scope for variation in forming additional rooms and sections, also allowing the complete removal of the wall in front of the windows. The art dictates the appropriate architectural setting and is given the scope it needs for its optimum presentation.
A broad staircase leads visitors to a smaller adjacent room containing the KAFFEEBANK café and the MuseumShop. Three wide glass doors create a link to the bank's spacious, roofed atrium. This architecture serves as a forum for customers and guests that uniquely combines a cultural experience with a venue for functions.

The programme
The Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin programme is developed jointly by the curators in New York and the custodians of the collection.
With exhibitions of unusual and outstanding art, limited in size, but highly focussed, Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin contributes to the art scene in Berlin and beyond.
All opportunities arising from the joint venture between the Bank and the museum are used to offer a unique experience of art from the present and former periods. Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, however, not only exhibits existing works of art but invites artists to use its space to create new art, thereby transforming the exhibition hall into an art studio.
There should be an even balance between commissioned works and other exhibitions. Works by older artists such as James Rosenquist or Helen Frankenthaler and works by newcomers such as Andreas Slominski fall within both categories. Traditional exhibits such as the Delaunay paintings or Russian art from the 20s will be on view in Berlin at least once a year. The same goes for works from Deutsche Bank's art collection which, in future, will be shown regularly in May.
With the exception of the last item of the programme, the planning, composition, organization and hanging of the exhibitions are overseen by alternating curators of the Guggenheim Museum who are also responsible for the accompanying catalogue. Although there are clear priorities with regard to responsibilities for individual tasks, all decisions are ultimately taken jointly. Day-to-day management, advertising, press work and the accompanying programme are the responsibility of the bank's staff.
Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin is an ideal venue for offering a detailed view of limited but central themes or series from the oeuvre of individual artists.
The opening exhibition Visions of Paris: Robert Delaunay's Series, which comprised more than 30 oil paintings and drawings, focused on the series by the French painter Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) which, for the first time, formed the central theme of an exhibition. The Saint-Séverin, Eiffel Tower, City Views, and Windows series, created between 1909 and 1914, marks the central period of the artist's oeuvre.
With respect to the exhibition concept, the Helen Frankenthalter exhibition in the autumn of 1998 took up the thread of Visions of Paris. Whereas the motifs had been all-important in the Delaunay series, the selection of works by the American artist centred on her pivotal work Mountains and Sea from 1952 and the narrow but productive period between 1956 and 1959.
Prior to the Frankenthaler paintings, Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin in From Dürer to Rauschenberg showed an extensive selection of 89 exhibits covering five centuries and comprising the best drawings from the collections of the Guggenheim Musuem and Vienna's Albertina. It was a particular success that such an outstanding institution as the Albertina, with its long and rich tradition, cooperated with our new exhibition hall. In future, Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin will continue to show works not only from the bank's and the Guggenheim collections, but also unique artworks from the collections of international museums.
American artist James Rosenquist created the first commissioned work for Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin with his painting The Swimmer in the Econo-mist. In March 1997, the commissioned work for the exhibition hall Unter den Linden was presented to the public together with preliminary sketches. Following the tradition of his environmental paintings, Rosenquist transformed the walls of the 400 square metre large room into a circular painting. Recollecting Germany and Berlin, which Rosenquist had visited shortly after the fall of the wall, he created a stirring, dynamic image of Germany. Measuring over 48 metres in length, this is Rosenquists largest painting to date.
With Works on Pigment by Kartharina Sieverding (September/October 1998), Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin for the first time presented works from Deutsche Bank's own collection in the exhibition hall Unter den Linden. This part of the programme will be continued in the coming years with works by Georg Baselitz and Günther Förg.
Right from the start, special importance was attached to the programme accompanying each exhibition: daily guided tours, key-note tours and lunch lectures form part of a regular offering. Special events were held repeatedly in cooperation with other cultural institutions in Berlin, based on the objective of cooperation rather than competition, openness rather than exclusivity. Examples to date include: a film series on Robert Delaunay in cooperation with the Institue Francaise, a fashion show which exclusively showed clothing designed by artists on the occasion of the presentation of the paper suit by James Rosenquist and the Berlin Philharmonic concerts with pieces from five centuries that accompanied the From Dürer to Rauschenberg retrospective.
Moreover, there were soirees, a pop art tour through Berlin, Peggy Guggenheims 100th birthday party and much more. This was appreciated by museum goers as the numbers illustrate: the film events were sold out, 4,000 visitors took part in our programme during the last Long Night of the Museums and an audience of over 500 listened to the 12 cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic.
In advertising, Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin also uses unusual measures to attract the public to art. Large-size posters, radio spots - a medium appropriate to the art shown is designed to attract visitors, and does indeed: the Delaunay exhibition drew more than 45,000 visitors and 37,000 studied the drawings From Dürer to Rauschenberg.

Day-to-day management
The day-to-day management in particular illustrates the advantages offered by the joint venture: Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with free admission on Mondays.
Within a short time, the MuseumShop was rated the best in Berlin and, in terms of visitor numbers, had the highest sales. A permanent selection of the most attractive products of the Guggenheim in New York and Venice as well as objects by young Berlin designers are offered on a relatively small space. There is a special emphasis on inexpensive, original gifts and toys for children.
Moreover, a theme-related collection is compiled for each exhibition, ranging from the relevant publications and chocolate night watchmen from the Rijksmuseum to prints from the respective artist.
On each occasion, Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin offers its own exclusive limited edition which is directly related to the exhibition or artist: Calvados with a Delaunay label, a paper suit by Rosenquist, the Dürer pencil case - to be continued.
The KAFEEBANK café, which is integrated into the MuseumShop, offers snacks and excellent coffees, tees and drinks. Newspapers and magazines tempt visitors to linger.
The possibility to use the atrium and the exhibition hall simultaneously has met with a positive response and events have successfully been hosted by numerous customers. Our guests have included the exhibitors and collectors of the European Art Forum and the World Congress of the CISAC, the association of copyright institutions.
Visitor numbers, reviews and museums', lenders' and artists' willingness to cooperate with us testify to the success of the concept and its realization. This is an incentive for us to continue to think beyond balance sheet figures and mathematics to offer the public - at least as far as the field of art is concerned - some of those singular experiences and moments which give meaning and reason to the reach for material gain.

Hilmar Kopper has been Spokesman of the Group Board of Deutsche Bank AG form December 1989 till May 1997/ Source: Hilmar Hoffmann (Hrsg.): Das Guggenheim Prinzip, DuMont Verlag, Cologne, 1999