The last expedition to cold, rainy and windy Manhattan targeted the Guggenheim museum. Not difficult to find, in our previous attempt to visit it we had found out that the place closes on Thursday and I had been there before. The first time , long time ag o,the building was under renovation, the second time only a limited part was open and the temporary exhibition did not meet my taste. This time it was bingo.
The building itself is unique. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. From the outside it looks like an inverted cone with a rectangular block attached to it. Probably because of the rain and cold and wind I forgot to take a picture, but there is plenty on internet, you will do with that. On the inside it is pure perfection. The only other time that I was blown away by a modern building was in Los Angeles, at the Getty museum. In both cases one is surprised and taken away from each angle. The gallery is a long spiral from the reception area to the top, with openings to the side galleries in the block. As Shin pointed out, the design makes that the public itself, that we see as dark silhouettes against a white background, seems to be part of the design. It is hard to explain, but I think that the pictures will be self explanatory.
And then the collection itself was fabulous. Guggenheim specializes in modern mostly European art and this time most of the exhibition showed pieces from the first half of the 20th century, adding Picasso’s to Modigliani, Kandinsky and so many more. There was a separate section devoted to Brancusi and that was unbelievable. I can’t add much more but: very happy that we made it and didn’t take another boat cruise. We ended the day with an hour at the Natural History Museum on the other side of Central Park. That was a mistake.
As we took the train back to Brooklyn where we had Mexican dinner for the first time (also big mistake that we didn’t have it earlier), we tried to look back at our New York experience. On one hand the city itself seems relatively unchanged. Where once it was a sparkling symbol of modernity, today it looks quite dated and even antiquated. Just like Bruges froze in the late Middle Ages, New York seems doomed to remain as it is forever, replacing a tower from time to time but keeping the same 20th century feel, with the Central Park and the old towers surrounding it, the brownhouses downtown, the very old subway… Meanwhile the creative push (and the money) for modern cities comes from Asia and the Middle East. For culture however New York has no match.