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Austrian, US, Russian Museums Collaborate on Exhibits - 2002-06-18

An exhibit opening at New York's Guggenheim Museum Tuesday is actually an international event of historic proportions.

"Connecting Museums" is the first exhibit produced as a result of the ambitious collaboration established last year between the Guggenheim, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria.

Each museum is currently hosting a "Connecting Museums" exhibit, featuring three masterpieces, one from each of their respective collections. Exhibit co-curator, Vivien Greene, says the collaboration represents a unique opportunity to see signature works by various masters together for the first time.

"For example, the fact that we have a Velazquez and a Manet across from each other is very interesting because Manet looked to Velazquez when he was painting," she said. "It is not frequent you get to put those two works in the same room along with a Rembrandt and see how these three works interact together. The idea is to have intimate, focused kinds of projects that sort of counter-balance the much larger-scale, blockbuster exhibitions that museums tend to do."

Ms. Greene says each work is representative of the institution from which it comes. The Guggenheim collection includes some of the most forward-thinking Modern and contemporary art. The Hermitage encompasses work amassed by the Russian royal family and the Kunsthistorisches comprises works collected by the long-time rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Hapsburgs.

The exhibit runs at all three museums from June 18 through October 20.