When navigating the New York art scene, the sheer quantity of options can suffocate the traveler. However, after visiting a few myself, I compiled a three-pointed argument as to why you should visit the Guggenheim Museum while you’re in NYC.
Don’t forget to book your ticket and skip-the-line pass on PlacePass so that your experience is completely stress free! Until then, here are the three reasons you should visit the Guggenheim.
1. Guggenheim New York: Architecture
Possibly the most notable feature about the museum, the architecture does two things extremely well that separates it from its counterparts. First, the spiraling ramp wrapping around the rotunda allows for an easily navigable museum experience. You can either start at the top or the bottom and work your way through. Regardless of which direction, it is a one-way exhibit that allows for a dynamic interaction with the pieces. Secondly, the architecture helps display the pieces. The walls of the building slope outwards the higher you ascend, giving the building that UFO-like shape. This stylistic choice allows for the majority of the art (being 2-D) to hang slightly free of the wall—displayed organically as if on an easel. Not limited to 2-D art, the special exhibition spaces allow for sculptures as well and even more unique exhibits (like a collection of bacteria and mold cultured from NYC spaces) to make a home at the Guggenheim as well.
2. Guggenheim New York: Food
There are two options for food: The Wright and Café 3. The former presents award-winning cuisine for lunch, adding yet another layer of sophistication to the visit (if possible). Enjoy salmon tartare or the chef’s risotto of the day after the spiraling walk of the ramp. Don’t worry, you don’t have to abandon the art as you dine, because the restaurant commissioned special art to hang in the dining room, which further adds to the experience. If you’re there on Sunday, you may also choose from traditional yet tastefully executed brunch options like a 3-egg omelette or “The Wright Waffle.” If a lighter (and less expensive) hunger strikes make your way to Cafe 3 to enjoy coffee, tea, and the usual baked goods while enjoying views across 5th Ave.
3. Guggenheim New York: Artistic Accessibility
This one is a huge pull for me. Oftentimes art museums can come off as pretentious and inaccessible. The Guggenheim manages to engage with all crowds while maintaining that air of sophistication that make you want to dress up for the art museum. First, the free audiovisual guide is an iPod that tracks your location as you peruse through the museum, providing audio and visual information about the pieces as you pass them. Some artwork even has special audio geared towards children, which provides engaging yet informative information on Picasso, Kandinsky, as well as some other important-yet-not-too-famous artists.
Secondly, the Gallery Guide program has people stationed throughout the gallery, doubling as security guards, there to engage with the visitors about art. Although the Gallery Guide program wasn’t as clear nor advertised during my visit, in the future, I hope to utilize that offering. The guides want to engage and unpack the art with guests, not just sit there and yell at people for getting too close to the paintings!
After visiting the Guggenheim, make sure to make your way down to Greenwich Village.
Written by Kyle Sanok, a Let’s Go researcher-writer
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