While I was in Shanghai, I was asked by Tom Marks, the editor of Apollo, to write a piece on the role of the national museums. I totally misunderstood what he was asking me to do, since my mind was full of the fact that it was the Centre Pompidou, not the Royal Academy or National Portrait Gallery, which had taken up the offer of space in David Chipperfield’s fine and well-placed new museum on the West Bund. So, I wrote what I felt, based on my now – possibly out-of-date – experience as to how the government treats international relationships, a topic of some significance if we are not to retreat into a narrow nationalism.
Here it is. What I was actually asked to do will appear in the next printed edition:-