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Guggenheim New York – USA

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan's Upper East Side, is a key attraction in New York City for the avant-garde art enthusiast.  If you're not into paintings and sculptures, the building itself is a real piece of work and worth a visit if you're traveling in New York City.


Artist Hilla Rebay and philanthropist Solomon R. Guggenheim formed the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in 1937.  It was created with the goal of spreading interest in avant-garde art through a series of museums.  The first such museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan, would go on to establish the name 'Guggenheim' as synonymous with high art.

Originally, the museum was known as the "Museum of Non-Objective Painting" and was not located at its present site.  It wasn't until 1959 that the world-famous Frank Lloyd Wright completed a design for the Guggenheim's permanent residence at 89th Street and Fifth Avenue.

When the building was completed, it instantly became a major landmark in Manhattan as not just a building, but also a piece of artwork.  This idea of using marquee architects would be used in construction of the Guggenheim museums in Bilbao and Las Vegas.


The first thing that will catch your eye when you see the Guggenheim is its distinctive spiral structure.  The main cylinder twirls upwards and outwards in a gravity-defying form.  This part of the museum is actually a large open-air atrium with a spiral ramp that leads from the ground floor all the way to the roof.

Art exhibits are prominently displayed along the walls of the spiral ramp.  There are also exhibits located in viewing rooms located at certain stops on the ramp.  Sometimes, larger installations are hung from the ceiling and can be viewed from a distance.

Though the building is truly elegant, it fails miserably as an art gallery.  If you're visiting to see art, you will probably be disappointed by the lack of natural light within the walkways (the abundant natural light from above is almost completely blocked off by the ramps), the awkward mountings of flat paintings on concave walls, and the limited space for sculptures.  Whether you like it or not, the building itself is more important than the artwork within.  Unfortunately, with the new addition of a rectangular tower in 1992, the museum has taken on a strange toilet-like appearance.