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Thread: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

  1. #31

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    Nice photographs.

  2. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by andyschest View Post
    I always had the impression the surface was smooth so I was surprised to see that blockwork is clearly visible.


    What you're seeing is not 'blockwork' but 'formwork' impressions.





    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I can tell the original (sans elastomeric paint) exterior surface was created by in situ gunite against formwork. Because it was sprayed onto the backs of the forms and built up, the forms could be lighter weight, and consequently weren't flexed or pressurized by a plastic mix -- hence the 4' x 8' sheetmarks. Given the inverted conic form of the walls, conventional forms and construction would have had to have been massively overbuilt buttressed affairs to hold back the lateral pre-cure forces.

    On a related note, chips of the gunite were removed from surface cracks and made into jewelry during the restoration.

  3. #33
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    good info ^ ...

    but the jewelry is way too fetishistic.

  4. #34

  5. #35

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    Architecture

    Architect Without Limits

    Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
    The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

    By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF
    Published: May 14, 2009

    Frank Lloyd Wright died half a century ago, but people are still fighting over him.

    Multimedia

    Interactive Feature Inside the Spiral


    Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times
    The original model of the Guggenheim Museum in the exhibition “Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward.”

    Video of the museum HERE

    The extraordinary scope of his genius, which touched on every aspect of American life, makes him one of the most daunting figures of the 20th century. But to many he is still the vain, megalomaniacal architect, someone who trampled over his clients’ wishes, drained their bank accounts and left them with leaky roofs.

    So “Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward,” which opens on Friday at the Guggenheim Museum, will be a disappointment to some. The show offers no new insight into his life’s work. Nor is there any real sense of what makes him so controversial. It’s a chaste show, as if the Guggenheim, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, was determined to make Wright fit for civilized company.

    The advantage of this low-key approach is that it puts the emphasis back where it belongs: on the work. There are more than 200 drawings, many never exhibited publicly before. More than a dozen scale models, some commissioned for the show, give a strong sense of the lucidity of his designs and the intimate relationship between building and landscape that was such a central theme of his art.

    Taken as a whole, the exhibition conveys not only the remarkable scope of his interests, which ranged from affordable housing to reimagining the American city, but also the astonishing cohesiveness of that vision
    — an achievement that has been matched by only one or two other architects in the 20th century.

    One way to experience the show is as a straightforward tour of Wright’s masterpieces. Organized by Thomas Krens and David van der Leer, it is arranged in roughly chronological order, so that you can spiral up through the highlights of his career: the reinvention of the suburban home and the office block, the obsession with car culture, the increasingly outlandish urban projects.

    There is a stunning plaster model of the vaultlike interior of Unity Temple, built in Oak Park between 1905 and 1908. Just a bit farther up the ramp, another model painstakingly recreates the Great Workroom of the Johnson Wax Headquarters in Racine, Wis., with its delicate grid of mushroom columns and milky glass ceiling.

    Such tightly composed, inward-looking structures contrast with the free-flowing spaces that we tend to associate with Wright’s fantasy of a democratic, agrarian society.

    But as always with Wright, the complexity of his approach reveals itself only after you begin to fit the pieces together. For Wright, the singular masterpiece was never enough. His aim was to create a framework for an entire new way of life, one that completely redefined the relationships between individual, family and community. And he pursued it with missionary zeal.

    Wright went to extreme lengths to sell his dream of affordable housing for the masses, tirelessly promoting it in magazines.

    The second-floor annex shows a small sampling of its various incarnations, including an elaborate model of the Jacobs House (1936-37), its walls and floors pulled apart and suspended from the ceiling on a system of wires and lead weights. One of Wright’s earliest Usonian houses, the one-story Jacobs structure in Madison, Wis., was made of modest wood and brick and organized around a central hearth. Its L-shape layout framed a rectangular lawn, locking it into the landscape, so that the homeowner remained in close touch with the earth.

    The ideas Wright explored in such projects were eventually woven into grander urban fantasies, first proposed in Broadacre City and later in The Living City project. In both, Usonian communities were dispersed over an endless matrix of highways and farmland, punctuated by the occasional residential tower.

    The subtext of these plans, of course, was Wright’s war with the city. To Wright, the congested neighborhoods of the traditional city were anathema to the spirit of unbridled individual freedom. His alternative, shaped by the car, represented a landscape of endless horizons. Sadly, it was also a model for suburban sprawl.

    Wright continued to explore these themes until the end of his life, even as his formal language evolved. A model of the Gordon Strong Automobile Objective and Planetarium captures his growing obsession with the ziggurat and the spiral. A tourist destination that was planned for Sugarloaf Mountain, Md., but never built, the massive concrete structure coiled around a vast planetarium. The project combines his love of cars and his fascination with primitive forms, as if he were striving to weave together the whole continuum of human history.

    In his 1957 Plan for Greater Baghdad, Wright went a step further, adapting his ideas to the heart of the ancient city. The plan is centered on a spectacular opera house enclosed beneath a spiraling dome and crowned by a statue of Alladin. Set on an island in the Tigris, the opera house was to be surrounded by tiers of parking and public gardens. A network of roadways extends like tendrils from this base, weaving along the edge of the river and tying the complex to the old city.

    Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
    A model of Beth Sholom Synagogue in Elkins Park, Pa.

    Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
    A model of the Gordon Strong Automobile Objective and Planetarium, which was never built.

    Just across the river, another ring of parking, almost a mile in diameter, encloses a new campus for Baghdad University.

    Wright’s fanciful design was never built, but it demonstrates the degree to which he remained distrustful of urban centers. Stubborn to the end, he saw the car as the city’s salvation rather than its ruin. The cosmopolitan ideal is supplanted by a sprawling suburbia shaded by palms and date trees.

    And what of the Guggenheim? Some will continue to see it as an example of Wright’s brazen indifference to the city’s history. With its aloof attitude toward the Manhattan street grid, the building still pushes buttons.

    For his part, Wright saw the spiral as a symbol of life and rebirth. The reflecting pool at the bottom of his rotunda represented a seed, part of his vision of an organic architecture that sprouts directly from the earth.

    Yet Wright also needed the city to make his vision work. The force of the spiral’s upward thrust gains immeasurably from the grid that presses in on all sides. The ramps, too, can be read as an extension of the street life outside. Coiled tightly around the audience, they replicate the atmosphere of urban intensity that Wright supposedly so abhorred.

    Or maybe not. In preparing for the show, the Guggenheim’s curators decided to remove the frosting from a window at the lobby’s southwest corner. The window frames a vista over a low retaining wall toward the corner of 88th Street and Fifth Avenue, where you can see people milling around the exterior of the building. It is the only real view out of the lobby, and it visually locks the building into the streetscape, making the city part of the composition.

    I choose to see it as a gesture of love, of a sort, between Wright and the city he claimed to hate.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/15/ar...ted=1&ref=arts

    Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
    Last edited by brianac; May 17th, 2009 at 04:58 PM.

  6. #36
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Streetscapes | The Guggenheim Museum

    Fifth Avenue Shocker: The Building Wore Red

    By CHRISTOPHER GRAY









    More Photos >

    FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT made his name as an architectural revolutionary, but in the case of the color of his 1959 Guggenheim Museum, he started out waving a flag of red, but ended up with PV020 Buff. The 50th anniversary exhibition now on view will surprise anyone who thinks the spiral is the most startling aspect of his design.

    Historically, New York’s colors have been red brick and the white and buff of marble, limestone and, in the 1960s, glazed brick. Indeed, we often complain bitterly when someone violates the norm. Thus, the 1962 blue-glazed brick apartment house at Madison Avenue and 65th Street was a target of indignation, as if the ubiquitous white glazed brick was somehow preferable. The building became brown in 2004, ending the argument.

    Although most attention focuses on Wright’s shapes, he had a strong sense of color. He wanted the concrete of his 1937 house Fallingwater, in southwestern Pennsylvania, to be gold-leafed, and the Fallingwater Web site, www.fallingwater.org, describes “his signature Cherokee red.”

    Anyone who visits Wright’s Johnson Wax Building in Racine, Wis., comes away with the warm orangey glow of the same color, which is also used for the floors and furniture.

    Hilla Rebay was the art adviser to Solomon R. Guggenheim, the mining entrepreneur, and in 1943 she approached Wright to design a museum. Several of the architect’s early proposals are shown in “Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward,” organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and on view at the museum through Aug. 23.

    Dating is uncertain for many of the early drawings, but in 1944 Wright proposed a polygonal structure, partly in blue. He also made designs in pink, peach, red and a sort of ivory. These are illustrated both in the exhibition and in Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer’s new book, “Frank Lloyd Wright, Complete Works 1943-1959," published by Taschen and the first of three volumes.

    Joan Lukach, in her 1983 book “Hilla Rebay: In Search of the Spirit in Art,” quotes a number of letters between Wright and Rebay. In January 1944, Wright described his choice of color and material as “exterior: red-marble and long-slim pottery red bricks.”

    Wright recommended that he make a model “completely furnished and in color — a type of model for which we are famous.” Rebay’s reply was crystal-clear: “Red is a color which displeases S. R. G. as much as it does me,” she wrote in a 1945 letter. She suggested “yellow marble, and if not, green.”

    The book says the model was red — “the color of creation,” Wright informed Rebay. He also suggested black marble.

    But the usually intransigent architect backed off, perhaps keen on a plum commission in New York City. He wrote that any color would be acceptable, and the entire matter dropped away. Had Wright been so accommodating with other clients, his reputation would be quite different.

    The book “The Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Making of the Modern Museum” accompanies the exhibit, and contains an essay by Gillermo Zuaznabar that says that by 1952 Wright was proposing an exterior of white concrete and polished marble gravel, “a look similar to alabaster.”

    But the marble was canceled for budgetary reasons, Zuaznabar writes, and Wright finally specified plain old “PV020 Buff." For an architectural revolutionary, it was a tepid statement; when construction started, the buildings at the flanking north and south corners were the buff of limestone.

    By the time of the opening in October 1959, Wright was dead and the color had been changed on the job to a tint of cream and very soft yellow. In the hubbub only a few reviewers mentioned color — it was the spiral that seemed so entrancing.

    But in a news story earlier that year, The New York Times quoted Robert Moses criticizing the Guggenheim’s “jaundiced skin.” And Lewis Mumford, writing in The New Yorker, objected to the color’s “congenial mediocrity” calling it “a sort of evaporated-milk ochre.”

    The Guggenheim has been repainted several times, and the book accompanying the exhibit includes a color microphotograph of the various layers, going from indeterminate beige or buff to the more recent near-white light gray.

    The exterior has been completely renovated, and during review by the Landmarks Preservation Commission color became a point of discussion.
    Preservation groups like the Historic Districts Council favored returning to the original darker shade.

    But the museum wanted to keep the lighter, brighter color of recent decades. One rationale was that the buff color of the limestone addition of 1992 was chosen to be distinct from the near-white of the museum as it stood at the time.

    Another was that the original color disappeared after only a few years. The commission allowed the later color, as it is now, and Wright’s beloved Cherokee red was not seriously considered.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/28/re...ref=realestate

  7. #37
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    Such a great building. Too bad it houses such a lousy museum. Besides the rare worthwhile special exhibit, there is no reason to go there, once you've seen the building inside and out.

  8. #38
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Guggenheim Museum in New York celebrates its designer, Frank Lloyd Wright

    August 12, 2009

    By DAVID DILLON / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

    NEW YORK – The Guggenheim Museum opened in October 1959, six months after Frank Lloyd Wright's death; half a century later it is still his most controversial building, loved and loathed by curators and critics with equal fervor.

    For some, its swirling ramp and shallow alcoves prove how much Wright hated modern art, particularly large abstract paintings that often look straitjacketed in his tight frames. Others find the balletic flow of visitors up and down the ramp, simultaneously aware of where they're going and where they've been, an unforgettable experience.

    The Nasher Sculpture Collection never looked better than in its Guggenheim debut in 1997; and Frank Gehry managed to tame Wright's soaring rotunda by draping it in chain-link fencing, as though it were an industrial tent. Clearly, what works at the Guggenheim and what doesn't depends as much on the art and the artist as the space.

    The current exhibition, "Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward," won't settle this argument, nor was it meant to. It is the Guggenheim's 50th birthday party, featuring 64 Wright projects – many famous, some not – supplemented by models, photographs, videos and one of the most remarkable collections of architectural drawings ever assembled under one roof.

    In the greatest-hits category are the Robie House, the two Taliesins, the earthquake-proof Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Fallingwater, the Johnson Wax building and finally the Guggenheim itself. Among the surprises are the fantastical Gordon Strong Automobile Objective and Planetarium (Henry Ford meets Buck Rogers) and the unbuilt Rogers Lacy Hotel in Dallas, its intricate glass skin and pinwheeling plan looking back to Wright's St. Mark's in the Bowery project of 1929 and forward to glitzy atrium hotels like the Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion. The Kalita Humphreys Theater didn't make the cut, despite opening the same year as the Guggenheim and having obvious family resemblances.

    "From Within Outward" offers no new ideas or provocative point of view. It is essentially a wallow – thoroughly enjoyable, completely predictable, yet considering the amount of real estate devoted to it, also a missed opportunity.

    The most glaring omission is a serious discussion of Wright's championing of green architecture a century before it became fashionable. Virtually everything that falls under that heading can be found in his philosophy of organic architecture: reverence for the earth and its systems; use of native plants and natural materials; designing for the imperatives of sun, shade, wind and rain, what we now call passive solar design.

    He overlooked nothing because, unlike most modernists of his day, he looked to nature rather than the machine for answers. "Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature," he wrote. "It will never fail you." This deserves more than a few passing comments in exhibit labels.

    One compensation is the show's celebration of architectural drawing, a lost art in our digital age when design often starts and stops with the computer. For Wright and his contemporaries, drawing was as natural as breathing, an extension of the head and the heart. Today, you'd be pressed to pull together a small dinner party of architects who use drawing as an exploratory tool: Michael Graves, Antoine Predock, Santiago Calatrava, Gehry now and then; it's a short list – and getting shorter.

    Drawing is closer to the pace of thought than clicking a mouse. It slows you down and forces you to concentrate on details, as though you were writing a letter in longhand rather than an e-mail. Yet in the weight of a line or the flow of a wash can be read excitement, frustration, surprise and uncertainty. Drawing humanizes design and makes it more immediately accessible to the public for whom it is supposedly intended.

    Wright believed in his own genius, but also in architecture's power to make life better for everyone. "If I had another 15 years, I could rebuild the entire country," he proclaimed. "I could change the nation."

    What architect would say such a thing today or even think it? More and more, architecture has become a profession of specialties and specialists using the narrowest possible lens. Wright, on the other hand, believed that architecture could change the world. He was an architect of his own time, but usually way ahead of it as well. His only 20th-century rival is Le Corbusier, who reinvented himself half a dozen times over a long career.
    But a more telling comparison might be the visionary dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham, who died in July. Like Wright, he made a career out of challenging the status quo, embracing new techniques and new technologies and then fearlessly integrating them into his work so that it was always fresh and brimming with possibilities.

    They both died at 90, but never got old.

    Through Aug. 23 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Ave. at 89th Street, New York City. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Saturdays. $18. 212-423-3500. www.guggenheim.org.

    The critic David Dillon is a nationally recognized architecture writer who lives in Amherst, Mass. What we learned:

    • Wright championed green architecture 100 years before it became the rage.
    • In addition to the Kalita Humphreys Theater and Gillin House on Rockbrook Drive, he designed a house for Stanley Marcus and the Rogers Lacy Hotel, both unbuilt.
    • The show's 200 architectural drawings celebrate a lost art.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont...1.4c22591.html

  9. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtolman View Post
    Such a great building. Too bad it houses such a lousy museum. Besides the rare worthwhile special exhibit, there is no reason to go there, once you've seen the building inside and out.
    Did you see the motorcycle exhibit? Did you see the Calder exhibit?

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    Yes. They were worthwhile to see. Once.

  11. #41

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    ^ Well, how many times do you think you should see a temporary exhibit?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    ^ Well, how many times do you think you should see a temporary exhibit?
    The Met regularly puts out blockbuster temporary exhibits that I salivate at seeing more than once (Gates of Paradise, Tiffany/Laurelton Hall, The Van Gogh Drawings - being some blockbuster examples from the past few years). Of course the Met is the Met, so maybe thats unfair?

    The only special exhibit I've ever seen at the Guggenheim that had a chance of tempting me, was the Rockwell one (except I pass by two different Rockwell Museums every winter on my way to Vermont).

    But forgetting all that - the Guggenheim lives or dies by its special exhibits. Its barely a museum, its really just a space for travelling shows - an upscale version of that Discovery Center location by Times Square that shows Titanic brick-a-brac or whatever crap they can throw together for the tourists.

    A real museum (in my mind), has a regular collection thats worth seeing all on its own. A good museum is a museum you would go back to, just to see the regular collection again.

  13. #43
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Gotta agree with you there ^

    The one little gallery (or maybe two or three) where the Gugg rotates its collection is way overshadowed by the great architecture of the rotunda part of the building.

  14. #44

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    Yeah, but isn't it the part really dedicated to art?

  15. #45

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    I really enjoyed their Aztec art exhibit from a few years back. Really something I hadn't seen in other museums. Great show.

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