By Annie Jiang ‘19
Visitors spiral up a quarter mile ramp toward the spider web like rotunda dome as they experience the stories behind the unique artwork of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
The museum, more commonly referred to as the Guggenheim, was established by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in 1939 and named after the founder, Solomon R. Guggenheim.
The Guggenheim dramatically stands out from other museums because of its structure, thanks to the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright who designed the museum. Wright allowed the museum to be a meaningful representation of nature and shapes.
“For Wright, geometry was the basic building block of nature. Geometric forms also held symbolic significance. The circle, he said, suggested infinity; the triangle, structural unity…,” according to guggenheim.org in the article Geometric Shapes.
After passing bag and body scans, visitors are exposed to a large open area. To the right is general admission and audio guides. To the left is the museum store as well as the coat check.
Visitors can either continuously travel up the six levels of the spiral ramp to experience the main exhibition of the museum, or they can wander in the annexed tower to observe other collections including the Thannhauser collection or to just grab a snack in the cafe.
“I really liked the design of the building because it allowed me to see all of the artwork twice when I went back down the ramp,” said Lila Chau ‘19.
The Guggenheim displays different special exhibits throughout the year, each with different stories to tell. The current main exhibit Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World is open to the public until January 7, 2018.
The main attraction of this exhibit is the artwork Precipitous Parturition by Chen Zhen. It portrays a metaphorical dragon made of hundreds of bicycle tires that hovers in the middle of the museum.
“My favorite part was the dragon sculpture because it was hanging in space and to me it looked real, like an actual dragon,” said Ada Jiang ‘18. “It was interesting to walk around it and see it at different angles.”
With this structure, Zhen wanted to show how China was drastically changing its economy.
The head of the dragon is shown with a cluster of bicycles, representing former China when most of the people living there traveled by bicycle. The large stomach of the dragon filled with many small cars metaphorically conveys China as giving birth to a new era consisting mostly of drivers.
Meaningful attractions in the Guggenheim like the Precipitous Parturition are open for not only art lovers but for anyone who wants to take a break from the rapid city.
The museum is located in Upper East Manhattan. Admission is $25 for adults and $18 for students with valid ID and elders over 65. Children under 12 and members can visit for free.