Liverpool hopes for Guggenheim museum

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The Independent Online
A NEW museum of modern art could be established on the Mersey. City leaders hope that Liverpool waterfront could house a prestigious Guggenheim museum, near the site of the Tate Gallery, making the city the nation's top arts centre outside London.

The scheme to bring the museum to King's Dock is one of the high-profile projects that Liverpool is planning to support its aim of becoming the European City of Culture in 2008.

Lyon and Venice are also bidding for the museum, but Liverpool leaders have already begun talks with Basque politicians and officers in Bilbao, Spain, where the first European Guggenheim opened, in an attempt to attract the New York foundation to Merseyside with a pounds 60m package.

Liverpool's European initiative unit manager, Carol Judge, who is directing the project, said: "No formal bid has been made yet. We are looking at the feasibility of it. We feel the site of the King's Dock would work very well. It is a beautiful site and one of the greatest waterfronts in the world, so it sells itself."

The American industrialist Soloman Guggenheim dedicated his life to setting up a foundation to establish museums of contemporary art across the world. His aim was to establish centres where modern art in all its forms could be collected, preserved, and researched. The New York museum - the foundation's first - was designed by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright and completed in 1959.

Hundreds of thousands of people have visited the museums in Berlin, New York and Bilbao. The Bilbao museum opened in 1996.