Monday, January 11, 2010

A Day at the Guggenheim Museum

With the current cold snap hitting the NYC metro area, what better way to spend the day than to head to a museum. We headed to the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan, and if there's one tip to impart is that you should expect a lengthy line to enter the museum during the weekend. The museum was packed to the gills with people of all ages. You can buy tickets in advance (additional service fee applies), which would save you time and spare you the wait in the cold, but the lines tend to move in spurts and you are definitely rewarded for your wait with a view of the collection.

The current exhibition which January 13, 2010 is of the works of Vasily Kandinsky, and the Guggenheim's exhibition is one the largest such gathering of his work since the Guggenheim museum put together 300 of his works in an exhibition in 1945, which highlighted the necessity to build a permanent exhibition space for Guggenheim's collections. That led to the museum commissioning Frank Lloyd Wright to design the museum, which finally opened on October 21, 1959; this marks the 50th anniversary year.

The Guggenheim is often noted more for its architectural splendor than the collection it contains. Given the genius and sinuous and seductive curves and lines that sprang from the mind of Frank Lloyd Wright, it is hard to find art that can match such a backdrop. Yet, the curators of the collection have managed to find art worthy of display here.

More than 100 large scale Kandinsky pieces are on display and another 60 works on paper cover Kandinsky's entire career. You can see his influence in the works of others, including one of my personal favorites, Marc Chagall, along with Pablo Picasso, as well as the Bauhaus movement (where he was a teacher until the school was forced to close with the rise of Nazism in 1933).

While the rotunda is dedicated entirely to Kandinsky's works through the end of the exhibition, the Thannhauser gallery showcases some of the museum's other prestigious holdings, including works by Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne, Manet, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh, and Pissarro.




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