What is Extreme Railroading? It’s all about getting on the Tom Krens Express and seeing where it takes you. Bound to be an exciting ride, into the past and into the future, with wide views on either side. In the words of a certain unnameable presidential candidate, it’s going to be “Huge…terrific…incredibly great…trust me.”
No, for real! Tom is no Donald. He has the ballast, the weighty substance, to balance the hot air. The latter is necessary to lift the project aloft, for a perspective that takes in all of the north Berkshire Route 2 corridor. Tom has the experienced control to bring the craft to earth at its precise destination in Heritage Park.
The X-RR blog offers a distinctly personal perspective on the far-reaching developments proposed for North Adams, Massachusetts, by Thomas Krens, the former director of the Guggenheim Museum and developer of scores of museum projects around the world. Before his twenty years at the head of the Guggenheim and its global branches, Tom was Director of the Williams College Art Museum and progenitor of MassMoCA. Since leaving the Guggenheim, he’s led a consulting firm focused on cultural assets and economic development, with numerous and varied projects around the globe.
X-RR presents an independent but supportive view of proposals aimed to develop the “cultural corridor” of the northern Berkshires between Williamstown, home of Williams College and the Clark Art Institute, and North Adams, home of MassMoCA and other planned attractions.
Unless otherwise specified, X-RR is written by Steve Satullo, a sometimes contrarian friend of Tom Krens since we were freshman entry mates in Lehman West at Williams College fifty years ago. I have closely followed his career in the business of art and the art of business through its many twists and turns, the superlative successes as well as the many big ideas and developed plans thwarted by geopolitical and economic vicissitudes.
Pre-eminent among the successes is of course the Guggenheim Bilbao, but emblematic of the thwarted plans is the evolving political and economic climate in China, which undermined his years of museum projects there. But China’s loss is North Adams’ gain, as Tom turns homeward with his well-developed ideas, and finds the perfect location for his efforts locally.
I’m convinced that with this Extreme Model Railroad and Architecture Museum, along with the rest of the “cultural corridor,” Tom has had his greatest inspiration yet, the perfect marriage of art and populism; place and space; creative culture and economic development.
In Extreme Railroading, we will discover where these latest big ideas take us, in something like real time. Woo-wooo, all aboard!