Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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My Visit to the Guggenheim Museum

After our last test, Maheen and I decided to go to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. We read about this museum earlier in the term because of its unique architecture. This visit reminded me of the movie Inception; similar to the concept of dream within a dream, the Guggenheim is basically art within art because the building itself is art. From the outside, the building looks like rings stacked on top of each other. When you go in the building, you could see a ramp spiraling all the way to the top. I found it interesting how the building contained many circles and curves: the passage through the museum was a spiral, the floor contained circular patterns, the building itself was spherical, the pillars were cylindrical, the entrance had a revolving door, and so on.

When I visited, the main exhibit was called Picasso Black and White, which focused on Picasso’s black and white paintings. His paintings lined the walls of the building. They were mainly abstract portraits of women in Picasso’s life, or reactions to war and tragedy. The unique design of the building enhanced this exhibit in many ways. The paintings were put up chronologically, so going up the spiral ramp made it feel like I was travelling through Picasso’s life. The ramp in the museum, as opposed to stairs or a flat floor, made this feeling possible. Ramps are a gradual method of going up, while stairs feel disjointed and uneven.  Therefore, the structure of the ramp allowed this connection to Picasso’s life to occur. Also, many of Picasso’s abstract portraits of women were filled with curves and circles. This matched well with the building’s architecture, which as I mentioned before, also contains many circles and curves.

There were other exhibits too, which were not about Picasso. One, for example, was about the abstract artwork of Vasily Kandinsky. These separate exhibits were displayed in different rooms beyond the main spherical structure. As you go up the ramp, you could choose whether to keep walking through the Picasso exhibit, or go to a different room to see another exhibit. When you go into a different exhibit, you sort of forget about the Picasso exhibit because the setting changes. You are no longer walking on a ramp and you are in a much more enclosed area. Then, once you leave the room, you are back to where you left off on the Picasso exhibit.

I really enjoyed this visit, but more because of the building rather than the art inside it. The building is what distinguishes this museum from any other museum in the world.



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