The Guggenheim holds a unique place in the history of New York City's museums. Established some sixty years ago by philanthropist Solomon R. Guggenheim and artist-advisor Hilla Rebay, it first assumed temporary residence in a former automobile showroom on East 54th Street in New York. The "Museum of Non-Objective Painting," as it was then known, took as its basis the radical new forms of art being developed by such artists as Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Piet Mondrian. The insistence of its founders on a wholly new kind of art seen in a wholly new kind of space set the Guggenheim on its path.
Throughout its history, it has stood as a groundbreaking institution geared as much toward the promise of the future as the preservation of the past. The belief in preservation was furthered by a recent extensive restoration of the museum’s exterior, which as of 2008 is now nearly complete. The innovative cylindrical building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, has suffered cracks in its concrete surface since the museum opened in 1959. In 2005, twelve layers of paint were removed in order to repair and restore the building’s unique structure. The museum remained open throughout the process as visitors passed under scaffolding to enter the building.
The first permanent home for the museum, as mentioned, was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. He envisioned a building that not only broke the rectilinear grid of Manhattan but also shattered existing notions of what a museum could be. He conceived of its curving, continuous space as a "temple of spirit" where viewers could foster a new way of looking. Named the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in honor of its founder, the building opened in 1959, drawing huge crowds and stirring considerable controversy. It has never lost its power to excite and provoke, standing today as one of the great works of architecture produced in the twentieth century.
The museum entered a new era after the naming of Richard Armstrong as director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in late 2008. As director, Mr. Armstrong has a pivotal role in overseeing all aspects of the museums including acquisitions, development, conservation and scholarship.
While the Guggenheim Museum in New York is the Foundation’s flagship museum, there are also several other global branches of the Guggenheim network which include The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain and The Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum is scheduled to open in 2013.
Admission And Tickets
$22 - Adults
$18 - Seniors, Students
Children under 12: Free
Telephone: (212) 423-3500
Address: 1071 Fifth Avenue
Cross Streets at 89th Street
Hours And Additional Info
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve & Day,
On Saturday evenings beginning at 5:45 p.m. the museum hosts Pay What You Wish, in which admission is by donation. The last tickets are issued at 7:15 p.m. These tickets are not free and cannot be purchased in advance.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Tips
1. Check out the free tours!
The Museum offers numerous informative tours that are free with museum admission. For daily schedules, check out the electronic signboard near the Admissions Desk.
2. Works and Process Series
The annual Works & Process series explores the creative process through extraordinary music, dance, opera, and literary and theatrical performances. Performances are presented in the Peter B. Lewis Theater in the museum's Sackler Center for Arts Education and are accompanied by discussion among artistic collaborators, providing rare insights into the creative process. Following each performance there is a unique opportunity to meet the artists at a reception hosted in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed rotunda. Tickets are required.