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Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
NileGuide Expert Says:
Between 2005 and 2008 the Guggenheim underwent a $29 million exterior renovation; soon after its completion, the museum was registered as a National Historic Landmark. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009.
1071 5th Ave, New York, NY, United States
NileGuide Expert tip:
The Guggenheim's "Second Sundays" program offers family-oriented guided tours with creative, hands-on gallery activities for young visitors.
Opened in 1959 to house the impressive collection of mining tycoon Solomon R. Guggenheim, the museum is considered by many to be a work of art in itself. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright worked for 16 years (he died one month before the museum opened) to create not just an art museum but a completely unique space, where the building and the art work together to create "an uninterrupted, beautiful symphony." From the outside, the oddly shaped Guggenheim has drawn comparisons to an upside-down cupcake, a Jello mold, or a pile of twisted ribbon. Inside, a long ramp spirals upward for a quarter of a mile above a large central rotunda, topped by a domed glass ceiling. Wright's love of nature led him to make the building appear on the inside like a giant seashell, with each room opening fluidly into the next.
In 1993, a controversial expansion and renovation added even more exhibition space to the museum, which houses a large permanent collection of Impressionist, post-Impressionist and other modernist work and mounts several large-scale special exhibitions each year. These are usually devoted to the work of a single modern artist or to a topic, such as the Aztec Empire, the Art of the Motorcycle, or Family Pictures. Located at the corner of 89th Street and Fifth Avenue, the Guggenheim is now one of the city's most popular attractions, with more than 900,000 visitors each year.