The Best of the Guggenheim
By Izhar Alonso |
Enjoy modern art exhibits and fascinating architecture at the Guggenheim Museum, one of the key components of the NY Museum Mile.
GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM, NEW YORK
In Manhattan, New York, you can find one of the most important contemporary art museums in the United States: the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, better known as the Guggenheim Museum. Thousands of tourists meet at this venue that is part of the New York Museum Mile, which runs mostly along 5th Avenue and also includes the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) and the Jewish Museum. However, the hordes of visitors the Guggenheim gets is not only due to its vast art collection but also to its architectural beauty.
HISTORY OF THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM
The Guggenheim was established thanks to Solomon R. Guggenheim, member of a prominent family of miners, who had a great interest in collecting art from the late 19th century. He worked with Hilla von Rebay who, apart from being an artist herself, dedicated part of her time to teaching Solomon about the world of modern art.
After several years, the Guggenheim’s collection grew until, in 1937, they created the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation whose purpose was to offer support to abstract artists who had fled fascist dictatorships that didn’t allow them to freely create their art.
The next big step Guggenheim gave was opening the Abstract Painting Museum, where he exhibited works by Rudolf Bauer, Robert Delaunay, Pablo Picasso and by his friend Hilla von Rebay, who also worked as curator for said museum. As time passed, the foundation’s collection grew with works by artists like Joan Miró, Paul Klee and Kandinsky.
As the number of works increased, they decided to construct a building that could house it. The project was given to architect Frank Lloyd Wright who was asked to design a structure that would portray the museum as a temple for the spirit. Until then, it was usual to build museums following the architectural model of functionalism or the Beaux Arts. However, Wright decided to create something different that could really portray the museum’s soul.
After making several sketches, the museum finally acquired its characteristic architecture and was built at its current location, facing Central Park, with the purpose of separating it from noisy streets and establishing the peaceful environment a museum should offer even if it’s built in the middle of a city. Upon entering you will be welcomed by a huge skylight that illuminates, from the center, all the areas of the Guggenheim Museum. Next, you will walk up a curvilinear ramp that leads to the different halls where the collection is exhibited.
HOW TO GET TO THE GUGGENHEIM
In such a crowded city as New York is, the best options are to take a taxi or ride the subway. If you choose the first option, the driver will take you to the right spot in no time. However, if you choose to explore the city and use the subway as means of transportation, you’ll have to get off at 86th Street station, lines 4, 5 and 6 (green line) and then walk towards 5th Avenue. You’ll find the museum between 88th and 89th streets.
TIPS FOR VISITING THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM
DINKtravelers offers you the following tips:
- Stay alert because some halls are not connected to the museum’s central ramp.
- Don’t forget to look for the work titled “America” by Maurizio Cattelan. It’s a fully functional 18-karat gold toilet visitors can actually use.
- Use the magnificent architecture of the Guggenheim to create original and creative photos from the different angles you can find.
- Download the Guggenheim Museum app using the free WiFi service they have at the museum. You can get a free audio tour through your smartphone. Another option is to visit the museum at 14:00 hrs, when the Guggenheim offers a guided tour.
- Indulge in the modern American dishes they serve at The Wright restaurant, or delight in the view of Central Park you can enjoy at Café 3.
- Remember to visit the souvenirs store where you’ll find exclusive products such as a mug shaped like the Guggenheim Museum, and more.