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Germany

German Town Gets Gehry Museum

The provincial German town of Herford is now home to a space-age modern art museum designed by the American architect responsible for the renowned Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. Frank Gehry's yellow-colored building resembles a series of sand castles and has been compared in the German press to a UFO and even a drunken pudding. Tucked in between suburban houses, the MARTa (taken from the German word for furniture, Möbel, art and atmosphere) gallery is expected to attract tens of thousands of visitors to the town of 65,000 people situated between Dortmund and Hanover in western Germany. "This proves that a small town has every right to have vision and to make that vision reality," said Jan Hoet, the museum's Belgian artistic director. "Herford had two options -- it could either fall into a deep sleep or look towards the future." The museum cost 29 million euros ($37.53 million) to build and annual operating costs are expected to run three million euros. For Saturday's opening, works will be displayed by Anselm Kiefer, Giorgio de Chirico, Louise Bourgeois and Georg Baselitz. Gehry's Bilbao Guggenheim opened in 1997 to critical acclaim.

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