Thomas Krens

Director Emeritus Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; Chairman & CEO Global Cultural Asset Management, LLC.
United States of America
As Director and Chief Artistic Officer of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for more than two decades, Mr. Krens was responsible for the creation, development and operation of the Guggenheim Global Network — seven museums in New York; Bilbao; Venice; Berlin; and Las Vegas — and produced more than 300 exhibitions that tripled attendance in New York, generated over one million visitors per year for more than 20 years in Bilbao, and established the Guggenheim as an elite world-wide cultural brand.
Complementing the traditional Guggenheim focus on 19th and 20th century modern and contemporary art, the program under Mr. Krens direction included: The Great Utopia: The Russian and Soviet Avant-garde; China 5000 years; The Art of the Motorcycle; The Aztec Empire; Brazil Body and Soul; Picasso and the Age of Iron; and career retrospectives by Robert Rauschenberg, Zaha Hadid, Giorgio Armani, Frank Gehry, Roy Lichtenstein and Jenny Holzer among others. Between 2005 and 2010, Mr. Krens was responsible for conceiving and developing the $5 billion Saadiyat Island Cultural District Master Plan for the Government of Abu Dhabi — which included the Guggenheim Museum Abu Dhabi (Frank Gehry); the Louvre Abu Dhabi (Jean Nouvel); the Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Center (Zaha Hadid); and the National Maritime Museum (Tadao Ando) among other cultural attractions. During both his Guggenheim and GCAM LLC tenures, Mr. Krens has worked for national and regional governments and major corporations to develop comprehensive new museum development, program, collection, exhibition and operating plans in Salzburg, Rio de Janeiro; Qatar; Guadalajara, Mexico, Taiwan, Abu Dhabi; Changsha; Beijing; Hong Kong, Vilnius, Istanbul, Baku, Vienna, Saudi Arabia, and in North Adams, Massachusetts. Mr, Krens taught at Williams College for 17 years, at Yale University for two, and in the late 1980s founded MASS MoCA, which is now the largest contemporary museum in the world. Mr. Krens has been awarded honorary degrees by Yale University, Williams College and the State University of New York at Albany; the Golden Lion Prize for Architectural Patronage by the Venice Biennale; the Lifetime Achievement Award by Americans for the Arts; the Order of the Aztec Eagle by the Government of Mexico; and the Order of Friendship by the Russian Federation. Currently, the GCAM group works on cultural projects in various parts of the world — including China, the US, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — and maintains a special, long-term collaborative relationship with Jean Nouvel and Agence Jean Nouvel in Paris.