BMW Guggenheim Lab Mumbai to Open December 9, 2012 at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, with “Pop-Up” Sites Throughout the City
Free Program Invites Mumbaikars to Explore Balance Between Personal and Public Space
Mumbai Lab Team Announced
MUMBAI / NEW YORK, October 22, 2012 – The BMW Guggenheim Lab will make the next stop on its global journey in Mumbai from December 9, 2012 to January 20, 2013. Presented in collaboration with the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, the Mumbai Lab will offer free programming at multiple sites throughout the city. Design projects, participatory studies, tours, talks, workshops, film screenings and cultural activities will address challenges and opportunities related to public space and the choices Mumbaikars make to balance individual and community needs in this bustling metropolitan area of more than 20 million people. Mumbai is the third stop of the mobile project, following New York and Berlin.
Part urban think tank, part community center and public gathering space, the BMW Guggenheim Lab is a pioneering global initiative aimed at raising awareness of important urban challenges and inspiring an ongoing conversation in cities around the world. In addition to participating in free programs at the Lab sites, the public is invited to visit the project website and join the dedicated online social communities or subscribe to the Lab’s e-newsletter for the latest project updates.
The central site for the Mumbai Lab will be at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, located in the heart of the Byculla district next to the city's botanical gardens and zoo. Additionally, nearly half of the public programs will be held at a network of satellite locations throughout the city, making the Lab’s programming available to a wide range of audiences and communities. Details about the satellite locations will be announced in the coming weeks.
“The BMW Guggenheim Lab Mumbai will take its programs out to the people in a new way. As we expand and evolve the conversation about important issues of urban life, what better city to continue this thrilling process of exploration and discovery than Mumbai, the commercial and entertainment capital of India and a leading scientific center,” said Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. “We are honored to be working with one of India’s most important and historic national treasures, the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, and we are proud to continue our journey in collaboration with BMW.”
“Mumbai once again demonstrates the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s ability to continuously adapt and re-imagine itself during its continuing journey through the world’s metropolises,” said Frank-Peter Arndt, member of the Board of Management, BMW AG. “To be able to engage with the city’s dazzling variety and unique inventiveness, the Guggenheim’s curators and the Lab Team, together with the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, have created a highly participatory, multidisciplinary program that is specific to Mumbai but also relevant to audiences around the globe.”
“We are delighted to collaborate with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on this critically important initiative,” said Tasneem Mehta, Managing Trustee and Honorary Director, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum. “Just as we honor and preserve the rich cultural history and heritage of Mumbai at our Museum, we must also look to our future and find ways to sustain our magnificent city and address the common challenges faced by urban dwellers around the globe.”
Mumbai Lab Team and Advisory Committee
The Mumbai Lab Team, which has created the program for the Lab together with Guggenheim curator David van der Leer and curatorial assistant Stephanie Kwai, includes four emerging talents in their fields: Aisha Dasgupta, a British demographer based in Malawi; China-based Dutch architect Neville Mars; Mumbai architect and urban transport designer Trupti Amritwar Vaitla; and Héctor Zamora, a Mexican artist based in Brazil.
The Lab Team members are nominated by the BMW Guggenheim Lab Advisory Committee, an international group of experts from various disciplines. Delhi-based transportation planner and safety expert Geetam Tiwari recently was named to the Advisory Committee.
The BMW Guggenheim Lab Mumbai’s multi-site program has been developed specifically for Mumbaikars. Along with national and international experts, academics, and leaders, the Lab will celebrate Mumbai’s local thinkers and innovators by including students, neighbors, grassroots activists, commentators, local organizations, and community groups.
“With more people than ever living in cities, we need a better understanding of urban life with all its opportunities and challenges,” said BMW Guggenheim Lab curator David van der Leer. “We believe that the ideas, investigations and experiments of the Lab will help us rethink how the effective use or reuse of personal and public space can positively impact our cities.”
The Mumbai Lab will present a distinctive range of offerings. Participatory programs will bring the public together with city officials and urban planners to address issues related to transportation, housing, water, and governance; city tours will explore the psychological effects of public space; and design projects are planned to include an open competition to develop solutions for a heavily congested traffic junction in Mumbai and an exploration of ways to refit obsolete infrastructure with new public space and pedestrian functions. The robust roster will include a kaleidoscope of perspectives from entertainers, artists, filmmakers, storytellers, chefs, and others, who will share their experiences of Mumbai’s unique urban landscape and celebrate its citizens’ diversity and adaptability. In addition, the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum will lead hands-on design and creative activities for families to learn about Mumbai’s historic, cultural, and contemporary urban landscape.
The days and hours of operation of the Mumbai Lab as well as a full programming schedule will be announced in the coming months.
As in New York and Berlin, the physical structure of the BMW Guggenheim Lab Mumbai will be in character with its urban environment. For Mumbai, Tokyo architects Atelier Bow-Wow have designed a new structure uniquely suited to the city's densely populated environment, modeled after the Indian mandapa, a raised outdoor pavilion traditionally used for public celebrations and events. Constructed primarily of bamboo, a building material often used in South Asia, the Lab’s main L-shaped structure will be situated under a canopy of shade trees in the gardens of the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum. A modified version of the Lab, which will consist of one wing of the main structure, will travel to satellite sites throughout the city.
About the BMW Guggenheim Lab
The BMW Guggenheim Lab is a joint initiative of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the BMW Group. The BMW Guggenheim Lab is curated by David van der Leer and Maria Nicanor of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The graphic identity of the Lab has been developed by Seoul-based graphic designers Sulki & Min. Activities at the Lab are reported on the project’s blog, Lab | Log, which also features interviews with BMW Guggenheim Lab contributors. The public is invited to join the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s dedicated social communities on Twitter (@BMWGuggLab and #BGLab), Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Foursquare).
The BMW Guggenheim Lab has been recognized with a number of prestigious honors, including a Webby Awards nomination for Excellence on the Internet, an International Design Communication Award for Best Logo, and an American Institute of Architects, New York State chapter Citation for Design Excellence. The project has also been recognized by the United Nations as an exemplary project that fosters community participation and discussion about key urban topics. In addition, the Lab was featured as a resource on TED’s website, The City 2.0, recognizing it as a globally ambitious project that seeks to spark dialogue about urban life. Urbanology, a city-planning game on the Lab’s website, was honored with a MUSE Award, presented by the American Association of Museums.
Future plans for the ongoing initiative will be announced at a later date.
About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, primarily of the modern and contemporary periods, through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The global network that began in the 1970s when the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, was joined by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, has expanded to include the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (opened 1997), the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin (1997-2013), and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi currently under development. Looking to the future, the Guggenheim Foundation continues to forge international collaborations that take contemporary art, architecture, and design beyond the walls of the museum. More information about the foundation can be found at guggenheim.org.
About BMW’s Cultural Commitment
For more than 40 years now, the BMW Group has initiated and engaged in more than 100 cultural cooperations worldwide. The company places the main focus of its long-term commitment on modern and contemporary art, jazz and classical music as well as architecture and design. The BMW Group has also been ranked industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes for the last eight years. In 1972, three large-scale paintings were created by the artist Gerhard Richter specifically for the foyer of the BMW Group's Munich headquarters. Since then, artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Olafur Eliasson, Jeff Koons, Zubin Metha, Daniel Barenboim and Anna Netrebko have cooperated with BMW. The company has also commissioned famous architects such as Karl Schwanzer, Zaha Hadid and Coop Himmelb(l)au to design important corporate buildings and plants. The BMW Group takes absolute creative freedom in all the cultural activities it is involved in for granted – as this is just as essential for groundbreaking artistic work as it is for major innovations in a successful business. Further information: bmwgroup.com/culture and bmwgroup.com/culture/overview.
About Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum
The Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum was established in 1872 as the Victoria & Albert Museum, Bombay. In 1975 the Museum was renamed the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in honor of the man whose vision and dedication ensured its establishment. Now an institution of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, it is Mumbai’s oldest museum and the third oldest in the country. The Museum’s collection showcases the Decorative Arts of India and also has an extraordinary collection of clay models and dioramas that document the life of the people of Mumbai and the history of the city in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After four years of intensive restoration by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage and supported by the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation, the Museum reopened to the public in January 2008.
Kate Lydecker, Polskin Arts & Communications Counselors
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