Photographer's Note

I could have done a fair bit to "clean up" this photo, with retouching, adjusting color and lighting, but I opted to leave it much as it is, as I think it appears as though it was taken with an older camera, somewhat in keeping with the theme of the structure in general.

Colloquially known as "The Guggenheim, the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum is located at 1071 Fifth Avenue on the Upper West Side in New York City. Formerly the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, it adopted its current name after the death of its founder in 1952, whose vast collections comprised the majority of the initial displays. Solomon was introduced to modern art by artist Hilda von Rebay, in the mid-1920s, whereupon he switched from a focus on the old masters to the works of artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Amedeo Modigliani and Pablo Picasso. He initially displayed his collection to the public, first at his apartment, and then at the Plaza Hotel.

The collection grew exponentially over the years, and in 1943, Rebay and Guggenheim wrote to Frank Lloyd Wright, asking him to design a structure for the extensive collection. He accepted, and this iconic structure, in the shape of a giant spiral, was produced, although it took 15 years to come to fruition, involving some 700 sketches and six sets of working drawings. The buildings remains the only museum ever designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The result is indeed a product of its time. The interior is somewhat inspired by nature, in particular, a nautilus shell with continuous spaces flowing from one to another. It reminds me somewhat of the interior of an anthill or termite colony! There is certainly an organic element, but the interior is also very "mid-century Modern," with the white opaque veneer and colored accents, giving it a very "space-age" look that's now rather dated but nonetheless iconic. It's wider at the bottom than at the top, and takes the form of a ramp from the bottom floor to the upper gallery in a continuous spiral along the outer edges of the building.

Unfortunately, its founder didn't live to see its completion. Some concessions have to be made to display some pieces, as the non-vertical walls have presented many challenges. Sometimes paintings have to be displayed on easels because of the size limitations of the exhibition niches surrounding the central spiral, and there is also limited space for sculpture.

The structure underwent a substantial renovation in 1992, including the addition of an adjoining tower. Another round of repairs, focusing this time on the exterior, occurred from 2005-2008, when the exterior paint was removed and many cracks were filled. The goal was to preserve as much of the original as possible. It's one of the most popular museums in the city now, attracting well over a million visitors a year.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 77 W: 78 N: 740] (1555)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2013-04-00
  • Categories: Architecture
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2018-12-03 12:14
Viewed: 235
Points: 0
  • None
Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 77 W: 78 N: 740] (1555)
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