I stopped by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum yesterday for the first time. While not as large as the nearby Met or MoMA, its unique Frank Lloyd Wright designed architecture and internal spiral-staircase layout make it worth a visit if you’re in the Upper-West side neighborhood. Internally, the artworks is arranged in chronological order, winding up the spiral structure from oldest to newest, bottom to top. A tip for visitors is to take the elevator to the very top, and walk down to view the art.
The Guggenheim Museum
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
The exterior features a winding helix stack, part of the original Frank Lloyd Wright design in 1959, and a square atrium expansion which was added in 1992 by the museum’s foundation. A massive exterior renovation occurred from 2005 to 2008, removing the original paint, laser/echo mapping cracks in the concrete structure and repairing them after determining that the superstructure was structurally sound.
The interior’s main feature is the winding spiral, housing galleries affixed the walls, terminating in a twelve-paned skylight that allows natural light to fall on the pieces contained within. The curved walls the museum make hanging paintings flush with the walls impossible.
The museum does not allow internal photography, but I jotted down the names of some of my favorite pieces. Here’s a brief sampler of the art you can see in the Guggenheim museum. In spirit of presentation, I’ve arranged it chronologically as well:
Portrait of Comtesse Albazzi
Édouard Manet (1881)
Done in the interesting medium of pastel on primed canvas, this is part of the Thannhauser Collection currently on view at the Guggenheim.
Peasant with Hoe (Paysan à la houe)
Georges Seurat (1882)
I love the brilliant colours of this impressionist oil on canvas painting, and it is only one of at least three Seurat paintings on permanent exhibit at the Guggenheim. You can read more about this piece at the Guggenheim’s permanent page.
Roadway with Underpass / The Viaduct
Van Gogh (1887)
Post-Impressionist oil on canvas landscape, done in France (hence the original name “Le viaduc” in French).
Fernande with a Black Mantilla
Pablo Picasso (1905 – 1906)
An oil on canvas made of his Parisian lover during Picasso’s Rose period, I find it a refreshing departure from the cubist works which have made him popular today. When you look at this painting, its eyes exhibit a haunted look that follow you through the foggy gaze of the portrait. You can read more about the story of Fernande, the art model, or Fernande, the painting at the Guggenheim.
Planes by Colors, Large Nude
František Kupka (1909 – 1910)
Also known as Plans par couleurs, grand nu in French, this painting is an interesting experiment in using colour as a kind of x-ray vision to bring out the innate nature of the human form. The Guggenheim has a permanent page for this piece.
Solidity of Fog (Solidità nella nebbia)
Luigi Russolo (1912)
An oil-on-canvas attempt at synaesthesia inspired by a foggy day and the then-new electric city lights, Russolo’s painting features the outlines of human figures and a carriage moving through the street, illuminated through the fog by concentric circle rings of electric light.
Dynamism of a Cyclist
Umberto Boccioni (1913)
An oil on canvas, this is part of the Masterpieces of Futurism exhibit.
Piet Mondrian (1914)
Mondrian saw cubism, and took it to the next level, leading to an entirely unrecognizable painting (above) of a tree. Check out the Guggenheim permanent page for Composition 8 for more!
I also liked Far Away (fern) by Vasily Kandinsky and the $100,000 room of Hugo Boss 2010 winner Peter Feldman but images of neither are to be found online. You can read more about the museum’s history at the Wikipedia article “Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum”.
|This entry was posted on Sunday, May 22nd, 2011 at 6:27 pm and is tagged with west side neighborhood, seurat paintings, frank lloyd wright, spiral staircase, georges seurat, guggenheim museum, canvas painting, spiral structure, exterior renovation, echo mapping, brilliant colours, laser echo, frank lloyd wright design, upper west side, oil on canvas, houe, concrete structure, paysan, manet, skylight. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback.|