/ Noterdaeme's New Vision for the Guggenheim on Fifth Avenue 
Noterdaeme's New Vision for the Guggenheim on Fifth Avenue

Thomas Krens
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
1071 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10128-0173

December 20, 2007

Dear Thomas,

It has been a long time since we last spoke, but you have been on my mind. It must be terribly hard for you to be left alone without Lisa. I wonder how you have managed to run the Foundation without a museum director for so long. This may come as a surprise to you, but after much pondering, I realized that the solution to all your problems might very well lie in my hands. We both know the reason why you have not been able to find a proper replacement for Lisa yet: the Board of Trustees has not allowed you to be as adventurous in your search for a new director as you would like to be. Let me help you out.

These difficult times call for radical measures, and you have proven time and again that you are willing to go the extra mile. In that, we have a lot in common: when I opened the Homeless Museum of Art in my private residence in 2005, all my colleagues (except for you) warned me that it would be disastrous for my career. Well, I proved them wrong, as usual. This has brought us together even closer, along with our shared passion for fashion, motorcycles, and the desert - be it in Nevada, Brooklyn or Abu Dhabi. You and I both know that running a museum is hard and difficult work: you have to model Armani suits, test-drive new BMW motorcycles, close bids in Las Vegas, and open bank accounts in Abu Dhabi, while I have to lie in bed all day, scratch my beard, and try to drill some sense into the minds of young journalists who are still wet behind their ears. Against all odds, we have both kept our heads above water and paved the way for future generations of art lovers. I think it is time for us to join forces and become partners in securing the Guggenheim's leading position for the 21st century.

Long story short: if you were to ask me to exchange my king-size bed in Brooklyn for a mahogany desk on Fifth Avenue, I would be inclined to accept. As the founding director of the Homeless Museum of Art, I have ample experience in making the impossible happen: attracting new audiences (especially the young: at a recent opening at HOMU, a nineteen-year-old Columbia University student crawled into my bed and would not leave until I had explained the history of conceptual art to him); manipulating the press; convincing every visitor at HOMU to become a member; exploiting the talents of my staff while inspiring them to give their all; beating the board of trustees into submission; and finding green sponsors long before it became fashionable. All of the above would make me a perfect candidate for Lisa's job.

As the new director of the Guggenheim Museum, I would commission Giorgio to design new uniforms for the museum's security guards, turn the museum shop into a Penny Arcade, and build a dirt-track circuit on the building's rooftop for motorcycle racing. I would lower taxes for Middle Class America, establish universal health care, and bring home the troops. Finally, rest assured that I would be the least likely candidate to ever defect to an auction house.

I have given the Homeless Museum of Art my all. I would not offer you my candidacy if I were not convinced that I would do the same for the Guggenheim, which, as you know, I love with all my heart.

I hope that this letter finds you well and look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Filip Noterdaeme
Director, HOMU