Reconciling Art, Architecture and Experience
If you really want to learn about a museum, look at its history. The Solomon R. Guggenheim museum in New York wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the philanthropic impulses driving its creation. Beginning in 1929, Guggenheim began to form a large collection of modern paintings and by the 1930s was sharing them in small public exhibitions. In 1937 he formed a foundation to present art for the benefit of the public and opened a museum just two years later. There had to be some humility involved in this endeavor, for the original building was called the Museum of Non-objective Painting rather than the Guggenheim. It wasn’t until 1943 that Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to design a home for the museum, still unnamed the Guggenheim. Over the next 16 years Wright made over seven hundred sketches and six different sets of working drawings as he struggled to reconcile the architecture he was creating with the art it was meant to present. Most critics agree he succeeded and the Guggenheim opened in 1959, finally renamed after its founder. Since then it has become a celebrated bastion of art, architecture, and design for all the reasons captured in this week’s New Arrival.
This week’s New Arrival features one more photograph in the exhibition, Architecture: Inside Out by Tom Rossiter. Like other images in the exhibition, the viewer is instantaneously given an inspired look at the entire concept underlying one of the great buildings in the world, in this case the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. As our eyes adjust, we see the entire building “inside out.” The entrance evaporates. We are led directly into the building’s atrium, compelled to look up; and when we do the interior view of the dome with its famous Calder mobile floats over the entire structure. We have been thrust back outside; and once there become exposed to some of the glorious art normally found inside. Flanking the structure are Brancusi sculptures and at the far left a Miro painting hangs on the side of a building like an outdoor banner. Just below is a plaque dedicated to Wright and Guggenheim. In reality, it is embedded in the floor by the entrance. Treasures have spilled outside, including visitors who find themselves on a crosswalk leading them back inside. This photograph is a both masterpiece of gaze motion and a celebration of the art found inside and out at the Guggenheim!
This image is part of the Exhibition, Architecture: Inside Out opening Friday, September 8, 2017
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“Cultural objects tell stories; and in each story a simple message is found—all cultures are the same, we just express ourselves differently”–GLEN JOFFE, OWNER