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Superstar Museums and global media exposure: mapping the positioning of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao through networks

Beatriz Plaza (), Ibon Aranburu and Marisol Esteban

European Planning Studies, 2022, vol. 30, issue 1, 50-65

Abstract: Superstar architecture can play a key role in the global positioning of museums in influential mass media, thereby successfully attracting cultural tourism (e.g. the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, GMB). Yet, an evident shortcoming is the mapping of media positioning. The aim of this article is precisely to draw and visualize this positioning of the GMB through networks. Two innovative features characterize this study: first, from a theoretical point of view, it links the debate on Superstar Museums to the broader economic debate on Superstar Economics. Akin to Rosen’s hypothesis, in the case of Superstar Museums, the media exposure is concentrated among a handful of museums. In this context, the authors highlight the role of networks. The central nodes in the networks utilized for the study, depict/stand for museums that have the maximum visibility in the international media. The second innovative feature of the article is the analysis of co-citation networks in articles of the New York Times for two periods (1995–2000 and 2014–2019). The network graphs map the results of this article: the GMB positioned itself effectively with its inauguration in 1997. In addition, 20 years later the GMB still remains quite well positioned.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2021.1935753

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