Will a 'Mini Bilbao' Bring the Crowds to Central Michigan?

The newest art museum in the U.S. will open on the campus of Michigan State University this weekend. Designed by architect Zaha Hadid, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum's namesake believes it will spur a "mini-Bilbao effect" for East Lansing.

Costing a total of $40 million, much of which was donated by billionaire alumnus and art collector Broad, the 46,000-square-foot museum was "deliberately designed to put [the University's] rural image to rest," reports Matthew Dolan. Although there's much debate about whether the so-called "Bilbao effect" - much admired and emulated across the world - effects any city other than Bilbao, the museum was reportedly designed to attract "cultural tourists who flock to architectural icons like the Frank Gehry's titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Spain."   

"Surrounded by the university's Gothic Revival buildings on one side and the city's traditional main street on the other, the trapezoidal museum evokes a shimmering spaceship from a distant world," observes Dolan.

"If there's a danger that the museum's bold design could overwhelm the collection and exhibitions, [museum director Michael] Rush doesn't see it. During its construction, with its windows not yet fully installed, he stared at the edifice and saw what looked like a gaping whale, an image that gave him an admiring chuckle. 'I think it's going to keep people on their toes,' he said. 'I think it's pretty magical.'"

Full Story: A 'Mini Bilbao' Opens in Michigan

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