Guggenheim Museum - New York, NY
N 40° 46.992 W 073° 57.547
18T E 587826 N 4515211
Quick Description: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is a modern art museum located on the Upper East Side in New York City.
Location: New York, United States
Date Posted: 10/20/2006 2:54:21 AM
Waymark Code: WMVT3
Founded in 1937, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is a modern art museum located on the Upper East Side in New York City. It is the best-known of several museums owned and/or operated by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and is often called simply The Guggenheim. It is one of the best-known museums in New York City.
Originally called "The Museum of Non-Objective Painting", the Guggenheim was founded to showcase avant-garde art by early modernists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian. It moved to its present location, at the corners of 89th Street and Fifth Avenue (overlooking Central Park), in 1959, when Frank Lloyd Wright's design for the site was completed.
The distinctive building, Wright's last major work, instantly polarized architecture critics, though today it is widely revered. From the street, the building looks approximately like a white ribbon curled into a cylindrical stack, slightly wider at the top than the bottom. Its appearance is in sharp contrast to the more typically boxy Manhattan buildings that surround it, a fact relished by Wright who claimed that his museum would make the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art "look like a Protestant barn."
Internally, the viewing gallery forms a gentle spiral from the ground level up to the top of the building. Paintings are displayed along the walls of the spiral and also in viewing rooms found at stages along the way.
Most criticism of the building has focused on the idea that it overshadows the artworks displayed within, and that it is particularly difficult to properly hang paintings in the shallow windowless exhibition niches which surround the central spiral. Although the rotunda is generously lit by a large skylight, the niches are heavily shadowed by the walkway itself, leaving the art to be lit largely by artificial light. The walls of the niches are neither vertical nor flat (most are gently concave) meaning canvasses must be mounted proud of the wall's surface. The limited space within the niches means that sculptures are generally relegated to plinths amid the main spiral walkway itself. Prior to its opening, twenty-one artists signed a letter protesting the display of their work in such a space.
In 1992, the building was supplemented by an adjoining rectangular tower, taller than the original spiral, designed by Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects. By that point, the building had become iconic enough that this augmentation of Wright's original design was itself controversial.
More info at the official website and at Wikipedia