Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

From Academic Kids

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1937 by philanthropist Solomon R. Guggenheim and artist Hilla von Rebay. Its primary accomplishment has been the construction of a number of international museums:

The Solomon R. Guggenheim in New York was the first to be built, and is sometimes called simply "the Guggenheim".

The museums exhibit primarily "high" modern and postmodern art, but some branches have also exhibited commercial art. For example, the Solomon R. Guggenheim has shown exhibitions of Giorgio Armani suits and motorcycles; the latter exhibition was later moved to semi-permanent display at the Guggenheim Las Vegas.

Additionally, several branches of the Guggenheim are famous for their distinctive architecture. Beginning with the Solomon R. Guggenheim building (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright), and continuing with the Guggenheim Bilbao (designed by Frank Gehry) and the Guggenheim Las Vegas (designed by Rem Koolhaas), the Guggenheim Foundation developed a reputation for hiring major architects and building bold designs. In fact, some claim (or complain) that the Guggenheim buildings are more famous than the art works on display inside them.


The first Guggenheim museum was actually called the "Museum of Non-Objective Painting", and resided at an automobile showroom at East 54th St., in midtown Manhattan. This space was replaced by the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum.

In 1992, the Guggenheim also opened a small space in SoHo (named, appropriately, the "Guggenheim Museum SoHo"). However, this space closed in 2002, most likely due to the museum's financial difficulties.

Also, there were plans around the turn of the millennium for the construction of another, much larger Guggenheim museum on the waterfront in downtown Manhattan. Frank Gehry was hired once more as the architect, and his essentially complete designs for the building were showcased in 2001 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim. These plans were disrupted, however, by at least two distinct factors. First, the museum experienced financial problems in the economic downturn of the early 2000s. Second, the September 11 terrorist attack prompted reconsideration of any construction plans in downtown Manhattan. As of 2002, it is therefore unclear whether the waterfront Guggenheim in New York will ever be built.

On January 19, 2005, philanthropist Peter B. Lewis resigned from his position as chairman of the foundation, expressing his opposition to curator Thomas Krens's attempts to expand the Guggenheim globally, and expressing a wish that the foundation would "concentrate more on New York and less on being scattered all over the world." Lewis had been the largest donor in the history of the Guggenheim, and it is not yet clear what effect his resignation will have on their future plans.

See Also

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation

External links


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