Sun-Wed and Fri, 10am-5:45pm; Sat, 10am-7:45pm; Thu, closed
4, 5, 6 at 86th St.
$18, $15 students and seniors, free for children under 12
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
| Thru 4/23 |
When Frank Lloyd Wright designed an inverted ziggurat and placed it across from Central Park in 1959, he threw the museum and architectural world into disarray. Instead of cube-shaped galleries designed to be entered and exited, Wright designed a space as exciting as the art it would contain. Visitors, ideally, shoot to the top of the sunlit glass dome by elevator then saunter down six sloping ramps to view art on curved walls. The interior is designed like a nautilus shell so you can see art from multiple levels simultaneously. And the distance and height from which you see the art, ideally, changes the way you see it. There are, still, annexes off to the side, holding the permanent collection of late 19th and early 20th century painters, from swirly, turbulent Van Goghs and jazzy Kandinskys to exuberant Picassos and Braques. But the nucleus of the Guggenheim is the rotunda itself. The organic, spiral shape is repeated and countered by the contours of the art and sculpture on view, the columns on which the rotunda hinges, and even the gold drinking fountains with their half-circles of water and round repositories. Since 1988, director Thomas Krens has irritated and enlivened the art world with showy, populist exhibits from motorcycles to Mapplethorpe, and from video artists Bill Viola and Nam June Paik to the interdisciplinary conceptualist Matthew Barney. But traditional modernists need not avoid this dynamic, tilt-and-twist space—there's still plenty of art by well-known types, like Klee, Brancusi, and Matisse, and round-ups of 20th century artists or the Russian avant-garde.Noteworthy Works
Be sure to view Rousseau's cheery, cartoonish The Football Players (1908) in an autumnal scene, in the second floor permanent annex of the Thannhauser collection. Wasilly Kandinsky's organized curves and circles, and the gorgeous, heavy brushstrokes of his famous Blue Mountain (1909) are alone worth the visit. Also not to be missed are Picasso's exuberant and complex Mandolin and Guitar (1924) and his striking, gray-tone Woman Ironing (1904).
Docent tours, which are free with admission, take place daily at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.. Exhibition tours run by curators and educators are also free, and take place on most Fridays at 2 p.m.