A temple of spirit ,Guggenheim Museum
The Guggenheim Museum overlooks busy Fifth Avenue at 89th street in the center of the borough of New York City.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum was designed by one of the most important architects of the 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright. It is interesting to explore this spectacular architecture while walking immersed in Central Park, catching a sudden glimpse of it amidst the leaves and tree branches. As you are walking to reach it, you notice it, catch a glimpse of it, and don’t realize that dividing the park from the museum is actually an urban street. This makes its discovery even more incredible and immediately makes me think of organic architecture, despite the fact that we are in the middle of downtown Manhattan.
Once you leave Central Park, you find this immense spiral upside down in front of your eyes, like a beautiful white cloud in the midst of a storm (of skyscrapers). Only later do you become aware of New York’s hellish traffic, with those yellow cabs whizzing along Fifth Avenue, shown on the map as Museum Mile.
The Guggenheim is seen from Central Park.
The Guggenheim’s white upside-down spiral glimpsed among the leaves of the trees in Central Park, in stark
contrast with the architecture and colors of the neighboring buildings.
Upon entering the museum, one is initially inside a small space with a low ceiling, typical of Wright’s architecture, but this lasts only a moment, for a few steps further on one is suddenly plunged into an open space, lit from above and surrounded by a single large ramp that rises all around, enveloping the visitor. Wright thinks of this museum as an open space, with the ramp as the protagonist as both served and serving space together. In addition to being, in fact, along with the elevators, the vertical link that allows the museum to be used, a number of works of art are already displayed in it. The more daring will walk up this ramp to visit the museum, but in the most common logic, one ascends to the top level by elevator, and then begins the descent in immersion in the works of art.
The museum’s main glazed entrance,
The museum’s main glazed entrance is topped by the words “The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum” and a view of the official store on the ground floor.
The Grand Rotunda and the beginning of the ramp.
At the entrance is the reception desk, the Lavazza stand where you can get a good cup of ristretto coffee, a space with seats where you can take a short break, and a fountain behind which is the beginning of the ramp.
The ramp serves open display “niches,” punctuated by the load-bearing partitions, but that’s not all. One can, in fact, access some more reserved spaces, and galleries, to visit particular exhibitions. It is here that one can gather more, staying face to face with paintings, statues, or photographs.
People admiring an exhibition
From the parapet of the ramp to the reinforced concrete partitions that divide the exhibition space in which
paintings or sculptures are placed and to the entrances to the small galleries for particular exhibitions.
The lines of this architecture are so soft, they gently accompany the eye and never (get) confused. The white color helps the display, making it never dull or gloomy to the eye. Natural lighting, coming from the dome at the top of the building, reaches well up the ramp, but not quite to the niches, which are themselves lit by openings placed high up in contact with the ceiling and artificial lighting, in some cases (few) aimed directly at the works.
The interior of the museum is never in contact with the outside. This choice is crucial because it allows no distractions: all attention is focused exclusively on the art. Yet, by the way, many artists, at the time of the museum’s opening, were not very convinced about exhibiting their works inside it, considering the possibility that visitors might be distracted by the elegance and beauty in itself of the architecture itself and might not grasp the importance of their works instead. All of this brought to mind the controversy regarding Baroque decorations inside churches, which could distract the faithful from their dialogue with God.
The truth is that every work inside is equally valued, whether it is a Picasso, a Kandinsky, or a Degas. And it is fantastic to be able to say that I was able to observe art in art, to be able to have a dialogue with paintings, sculptures, and installations, inside a “temple of spirit,” the Guggenheim.