The Upper East Side of Manhattan has been known as a haven for the arts for decades upon decades. Renowned museums, galleries and boutiques are prevalent in the area, and all have served to influence the overall atmosphere of the region. Within this cadre of art institutions, none are quite as unique or aesthetically impressive as The Guggenheim. A few blocks from the new Madison Avenue homes at The Carlton House sits the iconic, architectural marvel that is as stunning on the outside as it is on the inside.
Frank Lloyd Wright -perhaps the most well-known and prolific architect on record- designed the iconic building on 5th Avenue that has housed The Guggenheim since 1959. The building is nearly entirely cylindrical, and it grows outward as it rises, which gives off the appearance that it’s leaning a bit. It’s a truly idiosyncratic masterpiece of minimalism that catches every eye that passes it.
The interior is somehow even more remarkable than the exterior. The entire galley is essentially a cylindrical ramp that traces the exterior form and slowly inclines to the top of the building. And this is what separates The Guggenheim from nearly every other museum in existence—the building itself is an artistic masterwork, and would be well worth the visit if the interior was empty—but it’s definitely not empty.
Solomon R. Guggenheim founded his namesake museum in 1939—it moved to its current location 20 years later—and over the subsequent seven decades, the museum has amassed a staggering collection of pieces from around the world. The walls of the pristine white expanse are covered with masterworks from: Gauguin, Picasso, Duchamp, Manet, Pollock and many others, and their permanent collections are only a fraction of what they have to offer. Their special exhibits and exhibitions often feature intriguing work by heavyweights of the art world, as well as lesser-known artists, and energetic up-and-comers. They are currently running an exhibit entitled, Photo-Poetics: An Anthology, which examines the approach and work of the next generation of photographers in the context of the history of the practice. The exhibit features over 70 works by ten artists, and provides a unique and engaging view into the evolution of photography.
The experience at The Guggenheim is always a multifaceted one. Between the allure of building itself, the permanent collections and the rotating exhibitions, it’s truly a can’t miss on any day of the year.