Artists' visions celebrate Guggenheim's 50th anniversary

Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:51am EST
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By Bernard Orr

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Nearly 200 artists, designers and architects from around the globe have created works to mark the 50th anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum in an exhibition that embraces the spiraling rotunda of the New York landmark.

Dreamlike, whimsical, provocative, sexually charged and often tinged with serious social and political statements, the designs in "Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim Museum" range from simple sketches to elaborate video displays.

The renderings of how the artists would fill the nearly 100-foot (30 meter) cylinder of the museum designed by Frank Lloyd Wright will be on display at the museum until April 28.

"I have witnessed artists create exhibitions and they were all drawn to the center," said Nancy Spector, deputy director and chief curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. "They have utilized the center space in one way or another."

The museum, which was opened in 1959, is a favorite of architects worldwide and a pop culture icon due to its ribbon-like facade and interior.

Spector asked the artists to leave all practicality, feasibility and expense aside in creating their designs.

"They were urged to create, construct and design to fill the void ... using the museum as an armature," she explained.

Spector selected artists who were very versed in engaging space and who worked two-dimensionally. Some artists lived true to their craft, imposing no boundaries on creations.   Continued...