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Helsinki Greens take increasingly critical view of Guggenheim project
“Defeat of Green candidate in deputy mayor vote had nothing to do with it”
It appears to be increasingly unlikely that Helsinki will get a Guggenheim art museum.
Helsingin Sanomat has learned that the second-largest party group on the Helsinki City Council, the Green League, is likely to oppose the project.
A negative stance by the Greens would be a death blow to the entire project, because the fourth, and fifth largest groups in the Helsinki Council, the Social Democrats and the Left Alliance, also take a critical view of the proposal.
The chairman of the Green group in the Helsinki City Council, Ville Ylikahri told Helsingin Sanomat on Thursday that the party might vote to drop the Guggenheim project already on Wednesday when the matter is discussed at a meeting of the City Board.
“A majority of our group takes such a negative view of Guggenheim that we will have to consider rejecting it already at the City Board level”, Ylikahari said.
The question of taking part in the second phase of the Guggenheim Museum could reach the City Council on May 9th at the earliest.
The Greens have previously taken the view that the City Council should decide on whether or not to proceed with the project. Now that view is changing.
“If the artists and most of the people, and we and the Social Democrats oppose the project, then I do not understand why the City Council should debate it any more”, Ylikahri says.
The original intention was for the City Board to propose to the City Council that Helsinki should take part in the second phase of the museum project. This would mean the launch of an international architects’ contest.
The costs of the second phase would be EUR 4 million – including a licence fee of EUR 1.5 million to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. After the second phase a total of EUR 5.2 million will have been spent on the project after the second phase.
Ylikahri says that a majority of the Greens feel that the letter of intent between Helsinki and Guggenheim is “an imbalanced deal from Helsinki’s point of view”. There is also support in the Green group for the Checkpoint Helsinki project proposed by the art community. Green councillors would also like a more thorough assessment of the future of the Helsinki City Art Museum than a proposal by Mayor Pajunen calls for.
The Greens voiced disappointment in the National Coalition Party, the city’s largest political group, on Wednesday. In a vote on who should be the next Deputy Mayor of Education and Personnel, the National Coalition Party’s councillors in Helsinki gave their support to the Social Democratic Party’s candidate Ritva Viljanen instead of Tuija Brax of the Greens.
Ylikahri insisted that the Greens “are not so childish” that they would have let the matter affect their stance on the Guggenheim project.