The Guggenheim will launch a competition in early June to design their new branch in Helsinki. Working alongside the Finnish Association of Architects, the Foundation is seeking proposals for a currently vacant site alongside the city’s South Harbor. The competition comes three years after the city expressed interest in a Guggenheim outpost. But, according to the Art Newspaper, despite the competition, a new branch is not certain. The paper reported, “The Guggenheim announced that a decision to go ahead with the project would be taken after the architectural competition is completed." The competition comes as the Guggenheim faces heated backlash for their planned museum in Abu Dhabi, which has a dismal record on workers’ rights.
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Nearly 50 activists recently took over the Guggenheim’s spiraling balconies to protest the museum’s planned branch in Abu Dhabi. The protesters, who are affiliated with Gulf Labor and Occupy Museums, dropped pamphlets, rolled out banners, and hung a manifesto to criticize Abu Dhabi’s poor record on workers’ rights. Gothamist reported that the activists chanted, “The Guggenheim should not be built on the backs of abused workers. The Guggenheim should listen to the voices of migrant workers. Is this the future of art?” The Frank Gehry–designed museum will rise off the coast of Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island, near new works by Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, and Norman Foster. In response to the protest, Guggenheim Director Richard Armstrong said in a statement, “The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is engaged in ongoing, serious discussions with our most senior colleagues in Abu Dhabi regarding the issues of workers’ rights. As global citizens, we share the concerns about human rights and fair labor practices and continue to be committed to making progress on these issues.” Zaha Hadid kicked up further criticism for her insensitive-seeming remarks in the Guardian, where she dismissed responsibility for worker safety on a stadium construction site in Qatar: "I have nothing to do with the workers. I think that's an issue the government—if there's a problem—should pick up. Hopefully, these things will be resolved." She previously sparked criticism for her comments on building under dictators in Syria.
Tomorrow, June 21, is the summer solstice. On the occasion, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will open the doors on a major solo show of the work of James Turrell, called simply James Turrell. It's a fitting day to open an exhibition on the American artist. Since the 1960s, Turrell has developed a diverse body of work that uses light as material and medium. The centerpiece of the show is Aten Reign, a site-specific installation that fills Frank Lloyd Wright's famous rotunda. Made from a series of interlocking fabric cones that relate to the Guggenheim's interior ramps, Aten Reign interlaces the prevailing daylight with subtly changing color fields produced by concealed LED fixtures. Viewed from below, on reclining benches or lying flat on the floor, with the gentle bubbling of the Guggenheim's fountain providing aural accompaniment, the installation provides a meditative, perception altering experience. In addition to Aten Reign, the exhibition features several of Turrell's older works that focus on light and perception. Afrum I (White) (1967) presents viewers with a glowing white cube that, upon closer inspection, reveals itself to be simply two intersecting planes. The Single Wall Projection Pado (White) (1967) turns a section of wall into what appears to be a luminous opening to another realm. Litar, one of Turrell's Space Division Constructions, troubles the viewer with a rectangle of uncertain description. Is it a flat panel of color? A foggy void? Or an opening into another chamber? James Turrell runs from June 21, 2013 until September 25, 2013.
Gutai: Splendid Playground Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Avenue New York, New York Through May 8 “Don’t imitate others!” and “Engage in the newness!” are just two of the signature slogans of the Gutai Art Association, founded in July 1954 by Jiro Yoshihara. The Gutai—which translates to “concreteness”—artists dared to breakthrough the boundaries presented by traditional Japanese art. As their name suggests, the artists directly engaged with concrete materials (such as remote-control toys, sand, light bulbs, and paper screens) to create a new, never before seen, kind of art. The creative genius of these avant-garde artists manifested itself in the form of various mediums including, but not limited to, painting, installation and performance art, experimental film, and environmental art. Gutai: Splendid Playground explores the works of these artists, created over a span of two-decades, and features an enormous installation by Motonaga Sadamasa composed of a series of plastic tubes filled with colored water. The structure, created specifically for the Guggenheim’s rotunda, invites visitors to look up and use these “brush strokes” to create their own individual composition.
“What if we decided we needed a little more Guggenheim?” asked New York- and Athens-based group Oiio Architecture Office. In a shocking announcement on its Facebook page, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum today disclosed that it will be expanding—vertically: "We are pleased to announce that beginning today, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will begin construction to expand the original Frank Lloyd Wright design by an additional 13 floors." The museum has always faced spatial limitations,and as the Whitney has taken to expanding over the High Line, renderings for Oiio Architecture Office show the Guggenheim rising vertically from its Fifth Avenue site, continuing the building's signature spiral form. While this expansion is sure to garner criticism from preservationists, as the buildings is currently listed with both the National Register of Historic Places and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, representatives from the museum have stated that the proposed addition will respond respectfully Wright’s original design.
David van der Leer, an associate curator of architecture and urban studies at the Guggenheim, has been appointed executive director of New York's Van Alen Institute. He will take over in May. The Institute, which has existed for more than 100 years in various forms, is dedicated to improving the public realm through exhibitions, competitions, and programming initiatives in New York and beyond. Reached by email, van der Leer declined to elaborate on his plans for the Institute. Van der Leer, 33, has been at the Guggenheim since 2008. He helped curate the landmark exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward and Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim Museum. He was also active outside the walls of the museum, initiating stillspotting nyc, a series of site specific events and installations across the five boroughs, as well as the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a traveling pavilion that serves as a forum to investigate the future of cities. Prior to the Guggenheim, van der Leer worked in the publications departments at Steven Holl Architects, OMA, as well as 010 publishers, as well as a contributor to AN and other design publications. The Van Alen Institute is named for William Van Alen, the architect of the Chrysler Building, and one of the organization's biggest benefactors.
The BMW Guggenheim Lab is taking its show on the road one more time, after jaunts in Manhattan's East Village and Berlin, Germany. This time to Mumbai, India, where starting in December, an international group of experts and innovators will lead six weeks of free programs, public discourse, and experiments exploring a range of topics related to contemporary urban life. Mumbai, a city of 20.5 million people—the fourth most populous city in the world—represents a unique challenge for the Mumbai Lab Team, who have created a series of projects, studies, and design proposals that respond to issues including transportation, infrastructure, governance, and housing. To get a sense of the types of discourse that will be going on, check out 100 Urban Trends, a glossary of 100 of the most talked about trends in urban thinking, compiled during the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s trip to Berlin in June. A 36-column bamboo structure, designed by Tokyo-based Atelier Bow-Wow and inspired by a traditional Indian Mandapa—a pillared outdoor hall for events—will serve as a mobile pavilion and hub for the happenings. Atelier Bow-Wow designed all three BWM Guggemheim Lab pavilions, part of a collaboration between the museum and the car company. The pavilion will be built at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum and will open on December 9, 2012. Pop-up sites are also planned throughout the city.
A Long-Awaited Tribute: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian House and Pavilion Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Avenue Through February 13, 2013 In the years just before Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum forever altered the face Fifth Avenue, the directors of the museum went on a charm offensive. In 1953, they presented the exhibition Sixty Years of Living Architecture: The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright. The show introduced Wright’s Usonian House to New Yorkers by building the Prairie-style home on the construction site of where the architect’s tour de force museum would soon rise. Now through February 13 the museum presents a scaled-down version of the exhibition, which originally included the Usonian and a dramatic Wright-designed pavilion holding models, drawings, and watercolors by the master. This exhibition, A Long-Awaited Tribute: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian House and Pavilion, celebrates the two structures that won over a somewhat skeptical New York audience to the work of America’s modern master.
When New Yorkers seek an island of calm within the city, they usually think of finding a patch of grass in a park, not making a beeline to the streets of Jackson Heights. But stillspotting, a series of programs sponsored by the Guggenheim, promises pools of respite in the most unusual places. Selected artists and architects are paired with each of New York five boroughs and asked to create "spots" of stillness--what that might mean seems to be completely at their discretion. Last June artist Pedro Reyes' Sanitorium project in Brooklyn offered visitors a selection of "urban therapies"; in September the architects of Snoehetta teamed up with Estonian composer Arvo Part to create To a Great City, a series of installations deploying weather balloons accompanied by Part's music in a handful of spaces around Manhattan. Now, the architecture firm SO-IL is defining stillness through time, specifically the time it takes for a writer to read a short story. For Transhistoria, SO-IL explored one of the city's most diverse neighborhoods, Jackson Heights, Queens; the firm was particularly curious about how neiborhood residents, many of whom are foreign-born, achieve a sense of home. To answer that question, SO-IL invited a group of ten Queens-based writers to tell their own stories of "migration, displacement, and finding familiarity and identity in a new place." Each writer is matched with one of six Jackson Heights locations that range from apartments to sidewalks to rooftops. Visitors can buy tickets for a four-story self-guided tour that lasts about two hours. During the reading, each story location becomes a temporary stillspot (stools provided). SO-IL founder Jing Liu said that she and partner Florian Idenburg hand-picked the group of authors and worked with them to shape their pieces; the eclectic bunch includes Fr. William Alan Briceland, chaplain at Elmhurst Hospital, and Ishle Yi Park, poet laureate for the borough of Queens. At a preview event earlier this week, listeners heard a sampling of "transhistories," like "You Say Samosa, I Say Samoosa," by Premilla Nadasen, a writer of Indian descent who was born in South Africa and ended up in Queens but has never lived in India. That evening the background noise of the soiree competed with any sense of stillness; writers will have to be in full voice to create stillspots on a busy weekend in Jackson Heights. Yet exactly that challenge--as well as unpredictable weather and attendance numbers--is what makes this edition of stillspotting an exciting experiment. Stillspotting organizer David van der Leer, the Guggenheim's assistant curator of architecture and urban studies--who is also behind the museum's other out-of-body project, the BMW Guggenheim Lab--said that previous editions have taught him that stillspot seekers are out in force on weekends. Transhistoria is spaced out over four Saturdays and Sundays (April 14–15, 21–22, 28–29, and May 5–6, 11am–7pm).
Attention Frank Lloyd Wright fans! You can satisfy two Wright cravings with this one event. Head over the the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum to catch a screening of Kenneth Love's lush new documentary Fallingwater: Frank Lloyd Wright's Masterwork with Reflections of Edgar Kaufmann Jr. The film, which was supported by the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation, the Estate of Edgar Tafel, and the Laurel Foundation, will be screened in the museum's New Media Theatre on October 21 and 28 and November 4 and 18 at 1:00 and 3:00 pm. The screenings are free with the price of admission to the museum. It's the perfect marriage of content and container. Wright would approve.
Build me a library. Jerry Falwell Jr., current president and chancellor of Liberty University, will now see to it that there is also a library constructed in his remembrance. Inspired by Jeffersonian style, a favorite of the former minister, the library will be the largest building constructed on the university's campus. Liberty University has more info. It's that time of year again. Corn mazes are sprouting up all over the country and gaining popularity. The NY Times reports on how one family got lost and phoned in the authorities in order to be retrieved. Falling for the High Line. It's autumn in New York and the High Line blog featured a few photos of fall transforming the elevated park. Let the countdown begin. Picasso returns to the Guggenheim Museum in an exhibit that will exclusively showcase his black and white works. Drawings, paintings and sculptures from around the world will fill the Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda, according to the NY Times.
The Guggenheim has been blurring the boundaries of what makes a traditional museum lately, and among their latest forays into the streets of New York is stillspotting nyc, a series investigating urban life (a previous program, Sanitorium, explored what keeps city dwellers sane as they rush about their hectic lives). Now, The Mute Button, a collaboration between the Guggenheim and Improv Everywhere, continues this trend by staging 23 under-cover actors and two dogs at the entrance to Prospect Park at Grand Army Plaza. The troup is a noisy bunch, until--presto!--the din of the city turns silent. A camera was on hand to catch the reactions of befuddled passers by. (Via Gothamist.)