Thursday, December 15, 2011

New York Part II - The Guggenheim

I planned to spend most of my time in New York people watching, eating out and doing everyday things to see what life was really like there. I was adamant that I didn't want to spend all day in museums looking at art that was irrelevant to the city itself.
However, after we walked through Central Park we crossed Fifth Avenue and went to the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum.
For an $18 entry fee I was dazzled, by the exhibition inside as well as the building itself.
Solomon Guggenheim is Peggy's uncle. We all know Peggy, if you don't, get googling. No one rocks a pair of specs like Peggy.
Solomon commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design the art gallery. After only 15 years, 700 sketches and six sets of working drawings, he nailed it.

The Guggenheim was opened in 1959 and houses a magnificent collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Early Modern & Contemporary Art.
It's distinctive curves have been used in squillions of movies, I saw it myself earlier in the year when I took the girls to see Mr Poppa's Penguins.
As luck would have it, the exhibition that was on at the time was Maurizio Catalan. I happened to know him because my husband and I accidentally watched a documentary on him one rainy Sunday afternoon, and we were fascinated.
He is Italian but lives in New York. He's never shown a collection of his work like this before and apparently it took some convincing. The only way he'd do it is if his pieces were suspended from the ceiling.
It worked well since the inside of the gallery has an ascending, circular ramp.
Catalan is big on taxidermy. This horse is one of his most famous works.
Everyone needs a massive Picasso.
This is the artist himself, but I didn't see this piece in the exhibition.
He has a very dark sense of humour. I think he polarizes the masses. This little squirrel below is slumped over the kitchen table, the gun lays on the floor. He'd obviously had enough for one reason or another.
Some of Catalan's work is just too dark, like the hanging children, which I photographed but haven't included here. Apparently when they were exhibited in Italy, hanging from a tree, one poor many finally had to climb up and cut them down.
The ku klux klan elephant was hanging from the ceiling at the Guggenheim.
There was also an exhibition of Kandinsky in one of the smaller galleries at the Guggenheim, plus I saw this Picasso called Lobster and Cat. I want it.

And I didn't make it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Jewish Museum, the Museum of Natural History........
I'll do them next time.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Isn't the Guggenheim great?? Seems you lucked on an incredible exhibition too - those hanging pieces must have looked amazing in the space. I don't know Catalan the artist, but I'll remember him now. I have a tiny cup and saucer I bought there - the cup is shaped like the building!