If you were planning to spend a day perusing New York City's art museums it would not be complete without a stop at the Guggenheim. But, if you happen to be running short on time, save it for last, because in our opinion, one of the museum’s most impressive sights can be taken in in about five minutes and doesn’t even require a ticket: the building itself.
Consider us your tour guide as you take a quick lap around the building.
STOP 1: THE SOUTHEAST CORNER OF 89TH & 5TH
The Guggenheim was commissioned to Frank Lloyd Wright in 1943 by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and is arguably the most important work in his career. It's also one of New York City's best examples of modernist architecture.
According to a letter written by the Guggenheim Foundation's curator, Hilla Rebay, she requested the museum be "a temple of spirit, a monument!" So Wright literally took his idea for the building from a monument, Mesopotamian pyramids called ziggurats, which he reinterpreted in a modernist, circular form. Wright's initial plans for the museum were drawn up within months, but he would draw 700 more before the design was finalized.
STOP 2: THE SOUTHEAST CORNER OF 88TH & 5TH
Getting the Guggenheim from conception to completion, however, took nearly 16 years -- the building wasn't done until 1959. It would go on to be one of the hallmarks of Wright's career. Ironically, Wright passed away about six months prior to the Guggenheim's opening day, October 21, 1959. His wife later claimed that Wright wouldn't have been pleased with the building anyway, since the museum foundation had made some adjustments to his final plans.
STOP 3: NORTH SIDE OF 88TH ST
Early reviews of the structure weren't exactly glowing. Robert Moses famously remarked that it looked "like an inverted oatmeal dish." By 1990, however, the building was one of the newest ever to receive a landmark designation. We'd tell Robert Moses to stick to bridges.
And there you have it. But you should really go inside now.