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Thread: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtolman View Post

    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.

    This is just plain wrong. I think a great permanent collection can make a museum better, but to dismiss the Guggenheim simply because it dedicates itself to temporary shows is simply ignorant -- ignorant of the borrowing power the Guggenheim maintains. Precious few museums in the world mount shows with as much consistancy--with real quality and breadth--as this small wonder. It is one of the great art museums in the world and to disagree is to be plain wrong.

    As for the architecture, it can be my favorite place to look at art, depending on the artist. The bigger and more colorful the work, the better it looks. The Rosenquist show several years back was one of the most wonderful things I've ever seen. El Greco looks good here as well. Some artists however, are done a slight diservice here--which makes it a wash I think.

  2. #47
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    There is a term for a showcase of temporary exhibits. An Exhibition Hall.

    Nonetheless, I have not referred to the Guggenheim as such. It is in fact a museum, with a permanent collection (barely shown), exhibition space (poor for showcasing art but breathtaking none-the-less), and a curatorial team (uneven - for every good-to-great exhibit they put together, there are a dozen nondescript or bad ones). Taken together - I think its a lousy museum - whose showcase work of art is the building itself.

    Should a tourist go see it? Definitely. But as a local, once I've seen the soaring space - the permanent collection gives little reason to return. Do they occasionally have a special exhibit worth seeing? Sure - and I do go on occasion. But never for the permanent collection - I've seen regional museums with much smaller collections that show their meager collections better.

    Even compared to other spaces that host temporary exhibits, I think they don't do as good a job (anyone else miss the showcase where IBM would host exhibits at twice a year, in the basement of the old IBM building? That curatorial team almost always hit a home run, year in and year out) .
    Last edited by dtolman; August 19th, 2009 at 10:39 AM.

  3. #48
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    Guggenheim Museum turns 50: Here's 50 facts about New York institution

    BY Patrick Huguenin

    October 21st 2009

    Crowds lined up at the opening of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on October 21, 1959.

    One of New York's living legends is turning 50. Today, exactly five decades after it opened its doors, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is celebrating its birthday with free admission all day long.

    The Fifth Ave. landmark, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is one of the most controversial pieces of architecture ever erected in New York and one of the most awe-inspiring. Need another reason to check it out? Try 50.


    1. The structure faced harsh criticism when it opened in 1959. One critic dismissed it as "a war between architecture and painting, in which both come out badly maimed." Another called it "an indigestible hot cross bun." NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses snapped that it looked like "an inverted oatmeal dish."

    2. The exterior of the museum is made of gunite, a mixture of sand and cement that is sprayed on the inside of a wood and steel frame, which is later removed.

    3. Curator Hilla Rebay, a German baroness, chose the museum's architect. Some theorize that she selected Wright, a renowned American visionary, to pacify critics who accused her of favoring European creative minds over American ones.

    4. To design the museum, Wright created more than 700 sketches.

    5. The shape of the building is a play on a ziggurat, type of ancient Mesopotamian temple that narrowed as it rose. In Wright's design, the building widens as it rises.

    6. Wright wanted the building to have curved surfaces to convey "an atmosphere on the unbroken wave." He was adamant that there be no distractions, not even carpeting or curtains.

    7. As for the unusual look of the building, Wright proclaimed, "It's going to make the Metropolitan look like a Protestant barn."

    8. Twenty-one artists drew up a petition to complain about Wright's corkscrew-shaped design, fearing that the curved walls and ramp floor would make it impossible to hang their paintings level.

    9. The building was named a landmark in 1990, one of the youngest ever to earn the distinction.

    10. In 1992, an adjoining rectangular 10-story tower, taller than the original spiral, was added to the museum.

    11. During the recent exterior restoration, it was discovered that the museum had first been painted tan and that its light gray color had been added later. After some debate, the restorers stuck with the light gray.

    12. Wednesday night, the Empire State Building will be lit "Guggenheim red" in celebration of the museum's anniversary. Early on, Wright wanted the museum to be crimson, which he described as "the color of creation." Rebay wrote back, "Red is a color which displeases [founder Solomon Guggenheim] as much as it does me."

    13. It took $3 million to build Wright's structure. The restoration of the exterior between 2005 and 2008 cost $29 million.

    14. In one of Wright's original concepts, visitors to the museum would have been whisked via glass-tube elevator to the top of the building, where they could relax in a garden under a glass dome and then stroll down the ramp to view the art.

    15. Neither Guggenheim nor Wright lived to see the building completed. Guggenheim died 10 years before the museum's opening. Wright missed it by six months. (His widow later said he wouldn't have attended anyway because he was offended by minor modifications to the design.)

    16. Attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 21, 1959, were the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Arthur Flemming, United Nations Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge and New York City Mayor Robert Wagner.
    17. Some 16,000 people visited the museum on opening day.


    18. Art collector Guggenheim got his taste in modern paintings from his trusted adviser Rebay - more formally, Baroness Hilla Rebay von Ehrenwiesen - who was 29 years his junior. She was his confidante and, according to some, his lover.

    19. Before founding the museum, Guggenheim displayed paintings in his eight-room suite at the Plaza Hotel. Some Old Masters, the first pieces he had bought, were relegated to his wife's bedroom.

    20. Rebay steered Guggenheim toward "nonobjective" art - art that does not depict any physical object. For example, an abstract Picasso painting of a woman is not nonobjective, but the blocks of color on a Mondrian canvas are.

    21. An artist herself, Rebay was commissioned to paint a portrait of Guggenheim in 1928. She was paid $9,000.

    22. An early version of the museum was housed at 24 E. 54th St., where it was called the Museum of Non-Objective Painting. The gallery featured plush carpeting, burning incense, and a soundtrack of Bach and Chopin. The paintings were hung close to the floor so that they could be viewed by seated visitors.

    23. One of the guards at the Museum of Non-Objective Painting was Robert De Niro Sr., father of the movie star.

    24. The first show at the Museum of Non-Objective Painting was called "The Art of Tomorrow" and featured paintings by Wassily Kandinsky and Rudolf Bauer. Bauer was Rebay's lover.

    25. Rebay served as the curator of Guggenheim's collection until shortly after his death, when she was expelled from the board of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, in part for her "tempestuous" personality.

    26. Guggenheim was the fourth of seven brothers.

    27. The Guggenheims made their money in mining, and Solomon spent his early career overseeing silver, lead and copper mines owned by his family. In 1906, he went to Alaska to found the Yukon Gold Co.

    28. Solomon and his wife, Irene, were known for their opulent lifestyle. In addition to their suite at the Plaza, they had an estate called Trillora Court on Long Island where servants wore livery and stood behind the guests' chairs at dinner.

    29. Guggenheim left his foundation $10 million. That's the equivalent of more than $70 million today.


    30. In 1998, the spiral ramp was turned into a giant parking garage for "The Art of the Motorcycle," an exhibit that displayed 114 classic bikes, including the first motorized bicycle, a Michaux-Perreaux Steam Velocipede from 1868 with wood-rimmed wheels.

    31. Last year, an installation by artist Carsten Holler titled "Revolving Hotel Room" allowed guests to stay overnight in the museum. The piece included a bed and other furniture mounted on slowly revolving discs. Guests who paid the fee were provided with towels, robes and a continental breakfast. Actress Chloe Sevigny nabbed the first night's stay.

    32. One of Guggenheim's favorite painters was Kandinsky; he bought more than 150 works by the artist. An exhibition of Kandinsky's work is on view at the museum through the end of the year.

    33. Guggenheim helped the Russian-Jewish artist Marc Chagall flee Europe in 1941.

    34. In 2004, director George Lucas unveiled a new cut of his sci-fi film "THX-1138" at the museum.

    35. A photograph of a nude 10-year-old Brooke Shields, titled "Spiritual America," appeared as part of a 2007 exhibit. This month, an exhibit at Britain's Tate Modern was shut down for including the same photo amid charges of obscenity.

    36. Guggenheim's niece, Peggy, was also a collector, and ran a New York gallery. The famous painter Jackson Pollock once worked there as a carpenter.

    37. Some of Peggy's art collection was installed in her villa in Venice, which is now a museum itself.

    38. One of Andy Warhol's final works, his series "The Last Supper," was displayed at the Guggenheim's satellite museum in SoHo, which has since closed.

    39. Every year, the museum presents works by students in Learning Through Art, a program that sends professional teaching artists into the NYC public elementary schools. The annual exhibit is called "A Year With Children." Last year, approximately 1,500 students in grades 2 through 6 took part.

    40. A 1912 watercolor by Chagall was stolen in the 1960s and later sold by an art dealer to New York collectors, who got to keep it after a settlement with the museum.

    41. In 2006, Goya's 1778 painting "Children With a Cart" was stolen while en route to the museum for an exhibition of Spanish paintings. It was recovered by the FBI and went on display again in 2007.


    42. In the thriller "The International," Clive Owen's character takes part in a shootout in the Guggenheim rotunda. To film the scene, a replica of the interior was built to scale in a stage near Berlin.

    43. The museum hosts popular parties called Art After Dark on the first Friday of each month, with drinks and dancing late into the night ($25; info at

    44. The block of East 89th St. that runs by the museum between Fifth and Madison is named Fred Lebow Place after the founder of the New York City Marathon.

    45. Lego recently unveiled a Guggenheim building set.

    46. In August, during normal business hours, graffiti artist Mat Benote managed to stick one of his canvases to a wall in the museum, complete with an explanatory blurb. It was removed within minutes.

    47. You can wear the museum. Fragments left over from the building's recent overhaul are on sale in a line of jewelry called "Restoration Rocks," released by the Guggenheim.

    48. A Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, was designed by Frank Gehry and opened in 1997 to rave reviews. A Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi, also designed by Gehry, is in the works.

    49. A children's book by A.C. Hollingsworth, entitled "I'd Like the Goo-gen-heim," was reprinted this year.

    50. This year, Alicia Keys reportedly threw a birthday fete for rapper Swizz Beatz at the museum.

  4. #49
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    New York's Guggenheim Still Turns Heads

    Frank Lloyd Wright's Once-Controversial Fifth Avenue Museum Now Considered an Architectural Icon

    By Seth Doane


    Beginning 50 years ago this past week, out-of-town art lovers visiting New York have headed straight for the Guggenheim Museum - only to follow a twisting path once they get inside.

    Controversial at birth, the museum is now an architectural icon, as CBS News correspondent Seth Doane reports.

    Even as the Guggenheim turns 50, it's still turning heads. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright's famous spiral museum attracts about a million visitors a year.

    In 1956, when it began to take shape on New York city's Upper East Side it attracted a lot of criticism.

    "New York is usually a follower, not a leader, in stuff like this," said Paul Goldberger, an architecture critic for "The New Yorker." "And suddenly, New York has the most radical building in the world."

    Back then, the New York Times called it a "war between architecture and painting in which both came out badly maimed."

    Still, Frank Lloyd Wright - who died six months before the museum opened - dismissed critics of his only creation in New York City.

    "Someone told me the building on Fifth Avenue looked like a washing machine, but I always discounted it," Wright had said.

    And history, it seems, is on his side.

    "It was one of the greatest things made in the 20th century. It's one of the greatest museum buildings of all time," Goldberger said. "It's not a small statement, it's a very serious statement - this building is greatest of all time."

    Wright's design takes museum goers along a continuous, curving ramp. The space - and the art itself - unfolds in front of you...

    Curator Karol Vail says that presents an advantage - and a challenge.

    "You have to take the space vertically and horizontally," she said. "You have to be able to visualize the art from all different kinds of perspectives."

    It has its quirks, too.

    "We had to come up with special devices and contraptions to hang the paintings," Vail said. "So they can in fact hang straight."

    Right now, it's Kandisky on the walls. His work is often considered an ideal match for a museum designed to hold abstract and contemporary art.

    But a quick visit reveals that the art can almost seem like an afterthought.

    "Of course we are delighted if people come look at the building," Vail said. "At the same time you do want them to look at the art."

    That's an artistic conflict Wright purposely intended.

    The building says that "art and architecture can enter into a dialogue with each other and they can kind of get into the ring and joust with each other and it doesn't mean you are going to lose the art or have it overshadowed," Goldberger said. "In fact, sometimes it can create something more exciting."

  5. #50

  6. #51


    You can see evidence of the panels beneath the stucco. Smoother would be better.

  7. #52
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    Frankfurter Lloyd Wright?

    Landmarks rejects Guggenheim's application for food kiosk

    Alan G. Brake

    The proposed kiosk, shown here in a rendering, would have been placed under the famed Lloyd Wright-designed
    cantilevered entrance portico, accessible through a service window facing the bookstore.

    At a public hearing this afternoon, New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission denied an application by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation to build a food kiosk outside the entrance of its Frank Lloyd Wright–designed home on 5th Avenue’s Museum Mile.

    Designed by Andre Kikoski Architect, the proposed design called for a teardrop-shaped, double-skinned structure, clad in brushed stainless steel with an outer layer of cast resin panels. During the hearing, museum officials, including the institution’s council and deputy officer for operations, expressed the desire to clean up the area around the museum, which is popular with food and merchandise vendors, as well as capture some of the revenues that go to the vendors. Kikoski described the atmosphere outside the museum derogatorily as “carnival-like” and “cluttered.”

    The proposal called for a 12-and-a-half-by-6-foot kiosk with a solid wall facing out to the street. The only opening in the 9-foot-tall structure would face the bookstore, just north of the entrance, and a series of menu stanchions would guide lines around the curved perimeter. The structure would be placed underneath the museum’s cantilevered entrance portico. Kikoski argued that the “diaphanous” effect of the steel and resin skin would differentiate the structure from Wright’s design, while paying subtle homage to his formal language.

    A plan of the structure shows its teardrop-shaped profile.

    Preservation groups ranging from the Historic Districts Council to the Friends of the Upper East Side to Docomomo all spoke against the project. Speaking on behalf of Docomomo, John Arbuckle warned that the kiosk would disrupt Wright’s famed entry sequence, the feeling of compression upon entering the portico followed by the release of entering the vast rotunda.

    The size, location, and permanence of the structure all proved objectionable to the commissioners. “While I admire the design and find the material selection interesting,” said Fred Bland, a commissioner and principal at Beyer Blinder Belle, “at no level can I accept the design. The quality of the museum and particularly the cantilevered entrance would be violated.” Chairman Robert Tierney concurred: “All the standards by which we judge applications are not met in this proposal.”

    Kikoski previously designed the eye-catching Wright restaurant inside the museum, as well as a discreet coffee and wine counter within the galleries. Several commissioners suggested that a movable cart, like those of the street vendors lining the sidewalk, would be more appropriate.

  8. #53
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Silly proposal. The entry way is narrow as it is. Let the hot dog vendors sell from the sidewalks in the grand NYC tradition. If the Gugg needs to make money they should buy a vendors license and set up their own cart away from the entry rather than trash up FLW's building.

  9. #54


    Here, Here- brilliant idea

  10. #55


    No Hotdogging for the Guggenheim as Snack Bar Gets Skewered

    Yesterday the LPC trashed the proposal and voted 9-0 to deny the application.

  11. #56

  12. #57
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Nice ^

    This video event, part of the Guggenheim's Biennial of Creative Video, takes place tonight, October 21, at the Guggenheim:

    Tune in to at 8pm ET (New York) for the full live streamed event! Music, collaborations, art and incredible video. This video is just a taster of the exterior projections, on the facade of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

    YouTube Play: Live from the Guggenheim will celebrate the 25 videos selected by the jury for YouTube Play: A Biennial of Creative video.

    8pm ET (New York)
    1am (Oct 22) London
    2am CET - Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Berlin, Rome
    4am Moscow
    9am Tokyo
    11am Sydney

  13. #58
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    Commission Order to Guggenheim: Hot Dogs, Hold the Kiosk


    Word has it that Frank Lloyd Wright enjoyed a hot dog now and then, sometimes served with cheese and pickles at picnics he held on the sandstone bluff near his famous Wisconsin home, Taliesin.

    But the Guggenheim Museum considers the hot dog vendors outside its spiraling landmark designed by Wright to be visually disruptive and a drain on revenue that could go to the museum.

    So it asked the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission for permission to construct a permanent food kiosk outside its entrance on Fifth Avenue at 89th Street. Its architects envisioned a sleek alternative to all those blue and yellow umbrellas, one that might possibly propel a few carts to seek alternative feeding grounds down the avenue.
    But on Tuesday that approval was unanimously denied.

    “It detracts from the landmark and causes it to compete with the main building,” Robert B. Tierney, chairman of the commission, said of the proposed kiosk. “All of our standard appropriateness tests are not met here.”

    Reaction was muted Wednesday morning among the vendors outside the museum, largely because they had been blissfully unaware that they were anyone’s idea of a design black eye. But Ayman Azer, who parks his hot dog cart there daily, said he certainly did not need additional competition. As it is, he loses $200 a day when an ice cream truck pulls up. “Business comes down,” Mr. Azer, 35, said.

    More celebratory were the preservationists and neighborhood advocates who opposed the kiosk as an historic affront and an eyesore. Placing the kiosk so close to the museum “would violate the integrity of this world-renowned building,” said the local chapter of Docomomo, which works to protect modern buildings, in its testimony before the commission.
    “It would obstruct the most iconic view of the structure,” the organization added, “and it would adversely alter the experience of entering the building,” in particular the “celebrated sequence from open exterior space through a narrowed entry area into an expansive rotunda.”

    Critics also objected on a practical basis, said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, an advocacy group, “It looked to me like people coming in and out would run right into the kiosk.”

    A tear-shaped structure with a double skin of cast resin and stainless steel, the kiosk was to be positioned underneath the museum’s Fifth Avenue overhang. The museum will now go back to the drawing board to design something temporary and movable.

    “Obviously, we’re disappointed,” said Marc Steglitz, the museum’s senior deputy director and chief operating officer. “We did take a fair amount of time and energy to try to design something that was not competing with the building, that complimented the building.”

    In its application the museum had argued that the food carts were unsightly and distracting, “creating an inappropriate, carnival-like atmosphere.” Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, an advocacy group, asked in its testimony, “Does the Guggenheim Museum truly intend to eliminate the city-licensed sidewalk vendors with their kiosk?,” adding that “the proposed replacement is more disturbing than the existing carts.”

    Though the museum’s application presented the kiosk as a potential cart deterrent, Mr. Steglitz said the museum’s primary interest was not to oust the vendors but to provide an alternative to the Wright, its sit-down restaurant, and Café 3, a European-style snack bar off the Kandinsky gallery. “You don’t want to put people out of business,” he said. “There is a lot of sensitivity for people trying to make a living.”

    The kiosk was designed by Andre Kikoski, who also designed the museum’s two eating places. “We have been thoughtful and deliberate in how we’ve approached this work,” Mr. Kikoski said in an interview, adding that the kiosk would have offered higher-quality fare than that of the street carts.

    “Hot dogs and potato knishes are great, but they’re hardly the staples of modern dietary habits,” he said. The kiosk, by contrast, he added, would be “more sanitary, as well.”

  14. #59
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    Laugh out loud moment of the day .

    Mad Proposal Would Triple Height Of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum

    All images: Oiio Architecture Office

    People hate the new, before accepting it and ultimately—if it’s good and marketable enough—canonizing it. That can be said of modernism’s most iconic buildings, from Mies’s Barcelona Pavilion to Le Corbusier’s chapel at Ronchamp and, our subject at hand, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in New York. Despite their initial birthing pangs and angsty formative years, these structures have all been warmly accepted in the arms of their respective national cultures. They have been landmarked as immutable treasures, each representative of a “unique moment in architectural history,” so that making any change, however small or radical, to them would be perceived as an inconceivable, even immoral act.

    But don’t freak out when you see that lead image. As you might glean from the title, the Guggenheim Extension Story is not, in fact, a real project. Oiio Architecture Office, the architects behind the tall tale, have no actual plans or ambitions to add thirteen floors to FLW’s Guggenheim Museum. Instead, they conceived of the cheeky scheme as a kind of critique on the preciousness of listed and iconic architectures. “[The] Guggenheim Museum,” they write, “has become so iconic, so emblematic and hermetic in our minds that it can no longer be touched by architects!”

    The ironclad laws of heritage and preservation would even have prevented Wright himself—resurrected from grave—to make any modifications to his own building, the designers claim. “Even if its own creator were to propose an alternation of its form, New Yorkers would suddenly feel as if they have lost a dear old friend.” While the design merits of the “proposal” are interesting enough, it’s the project’s snark that proves the more appealing and effective. Also, just look at that section…

    ExtenZ for architecture?

    [via dezeen]

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