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Published 07/12/2006 email E-MAIL print PRINT

Who knows which city is to be the European Capital of Culture in 2007? Deadly silence. Of course, someone prompts - it's Luxembourg. Luxembourg is the greatest beneficiary of the accident of being at the centre of cultural crosscurrents ever since the EU (once the EEC) was launched. The tiny 'country' is an accident of history; a 'grand duchy' that didn't have to achieve much to get there. To start a tour of this enclave of 'non-culture' you cannot even commence your best route there; you must kick off in the German city of Trier. Across the Moselle river nearby is the French city of Metz, whose Musée d'Art et d'Histoire from 2008 will be the new Fonds Régional d'Art Contemporaine, intended to be a kind of local Bilbao 'Guggenheim'. But, hey, wait a minute - we are kicking our ball further and further away from 'Luxembourg' and no one seems interested. Perhaps the Luxembourgeoisie should be congratulated on their canniness in staying in a centre that is really a void, and letting the neighbours cut the hedges. There are one or two exceptions: IM Pei's Musee D'Art Moderne (MUDAM) building has archaic undertones, but aspires to the avant-garde (which no longer exists, by general consent, in the global art world). Richard Deacon has been there, and left 'Eight' which does give hope. Truly, you can see all this in Luxembourg without crossing into France or Germany.

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