The Guggenheim Museum: the jewel in New York's artistic crown by Andrew Regan
The image of New York in art and popular culture has long been cemented as one of timeless universality. In the world of painting and photography, among a host of other art forms, New York has been one of the central muses of the art world: from the controversy over Diego Rivera's Man at the Crossroads mural in the Rockerfeller Center in 1936, to Jonathan Hyman's post-9/11 photography exhibitions, art has been an important component of the shaping of New York. Amidst its host of world-renowned galleries are the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), The Metropolitan Museum and, perhaps most interestingly, the Guggenheim Museum.
In terms of both its art and architecture, the Guggenheim is one of New York's most interesting landmarks; as such, it's an essential stop-off point for any culture vulture in the city. Originally established in 1937 as "The Museum of Non-Objective Painting" the Guggenheim was established with the primary aim of showcasing the work of early modernists; to this day the museum continues to maintain ongoing exhibits of the art of Wassily Kandinsky and Jackson Pollock. Its more recent exhibitions have included eclectic collections: Robert Mapplethorpe and the Classical Traditions, the work of Iraqi-born artists Zaha Hadid and an exhibition of photos showing sculptor David Smith at work.
This wide-ranging selection of exhibits simply proves that while the Guggenheim still adheres to its primary principle of showcasing early modernist art, it also goes a long way in championing post-modern art. Moreover, the Guggenheim has also played host to a distinct selection of commercial art by including seasons of motorcycle exhibitions, as well as a display of Giorgio Armani suits.
The Guggenheim is not only notable for its excellent art collections, but also for its fundamental architectural beauty. Situated at the corner of 89th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan, the Guggenheim museum was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most influential American architects of the early twentieth century, whose works also include the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Hollyhock House in LA and the Illinois mile-high tower in Chicago. Wright's avant-garde design was devised for the specific purpose of making the Metropolitan Museum of Art resemble "a Protestant barn". Looking somewhat like a coiled-up white ribbon, the building was widely reviled at the time of its establishment, but is now generally recognised as one of the defining features of New York's diverse architectural landscape.
New York's Guggenheim Museum is part of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, a non-profit body founded in 1937 by philanthropist Solomon R. Guggenheim and artist Hilla von Rebay. Since the foundation of this original Guggenheim Museum in New York the organisation has gone on to open up other Guggenheims across the world. Today, Guggenheim Museums can be found in Bilbao, Berlin, Venice and Las Vegas. Many cultural tourists who are intent on soaking up the delights of the art world across the globe embark on world tours visiting each Guggenheim Museum in turn. Taking advantage of air miles and reward schemes like the Hilton Honors rewards system can makes this sort of round-the-world travel easier - and less expensive - than many might think. So art fans yearning to travel will find that they can visit each Guggenheim Museum in turn without busting their bank balance.
About the Author
Andrew Regan is an online journalist who enjoys socialising at his local rugby club.