The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, often referred to simply as “The Guggenheim,” is a museum with an extraordinary tale of transition. In New York abstract art and contemporary art back to the Impressionists have found a home in this museum. It evolved from a private collection to a public museum.
The tale began in 1937, when Solomon R. Guggenheim formed a foundation which aimed to operate as a museum that would publicly exhibit and preserve his holdings. Today the Guggenheim is an internationally renowned art museum. Additionally, its building is one of the most significant architectural icons of the 20th century.
Building the Collection
The Guggenheim’s strategic purchasing and partnerships has created a unique, splendidly layered collection which dates back to the 19th century. The museum prefers to avoid traditional setups such as having departments in its presentation structure or focusing on specific media. Instead, they have distinctive layout which provides for the exhibits to be continuously enhanced as talent emerges and it fills in critical historical gaps.
The Specific Collections
The Guggenheim Museum maintains a series of unique and diverse art collections. Over the last two decades, the Guggenheim’s strategic partnerships with banks and multiple foundations has made the following collections available:
- Solomon R. Guggenheim
- Collection of nonobjective paintings
- Peggy Guggenheim
- Abstract and Surrealist paintings and sculptures
- Justin K. Thannhauser
- Early modern masterpieces
- Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo
- European Minimalist
- American Minimalist
- Environmental and Conceptual art
What the Guggenheim Has to Offer
Because the Guggenheim operates out of multiple locations, it has access to shared collections, common constituencies, and joint programming. The permanent collection provides the very core of this institution, allowing a variety of far-reaching activities to be based upon it. Visitors experience a large variety of activities:
- Special exhibitions of modern and contemporary art
- Lectures by artists and critics
- Performances and film screenings
- Classes for teens and adults
- Daily tours of the galleries led by museum educators
Programs for the Public
The Sackler Center for Arts Education provides visitors with a variety of programs which aim at helping them become more fully engaged with the art on view at the Guggenheim Museums. A vast array of opportunities awaits the public. Additionally, the center also provides internships and fellowships for a wide range of students and experienced professionals.
Lectures and Symposia
Lectures are organized in connection with current exhibitions and the permanent collection. Emerging artists, scholars, and curators present material for the museum’s mission, in lectures and symposia.
Conversations with Contemporary Artists
Innovative artists are welcomed to present their creative process. These special conversations consist of themes based on the artist’s work, as well as current issues in the art world.
Courses of study are focused on single topics, themes, or techniques, and may meet multiple times over a given time period.
Tours and Gallery Programs
Tours and gallery programs are available to the public and offer multiple opportunities which share ideas about works of art. The public gains further insight through one-on-one discussion with Gallery Guides. Additionally, tours are available which assist visitors with disabilities.
Film screenings are free with museum admission and provide a rich amount of context for the visitor. They organized into thematic series relating to current exhibitions.
Internships and Fellowships
A variety of internships for students and professionals are offered by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Rebay International Fellowship.
Overall, the Guggenheim has evolved over time, to now offer a vast array of art opportunities to the public and private sector. Their unique partnerships, acquisitions, and donations have allowed them to create a phenomenal museum which is internationally viewed as one of the best in the world.