Thursday, November 11, 2010

Guggenheim (Deconstructed)

I can't possibly do the Guggenheim justice, but this is what I call Guggenheim Deconstructed.  I've taken a series of black and white photos of structural elements and defining qualities of the building to give everyone a sense of how amazing this structure is; even in parts.

The Guggenheim

Frank Lloyd Wright.  Architect.  Japanese Print Collector.  Functionality.  Genius.  Visionary.  Ahead of his time-then and now.  These are words I would use to briefly describe Frank Lloyd Wright.  I briefly touched on Frank Lloyd Wright and the Guggenheim in my NYC overview post, but I feel that this building and the man who created it should be given their own post.  For those of you who don't know, Frank Lloyd Wright was asked in 1943, by letter, to design a new building to house Solomon R. Guggenheim's museum of paintings.  Like many times before and many times after, this was a project that put the artist (Frank Lloyd Wright) and his creativity in direct conflict with his client, the city, the art world and essentially everyone.  In fact, it was a great struggle that wasn't realized until 1959; after both Wright and Guggenheim had past away.

If you haven't seen it, the building is a geometrical marvel.  In fact, it seems to posses otherworldly qualities.  It goes against the typical train of thought for how a museum is laid out, yet I'm surprised more museums haven't used it as a model.  The gallery area of the museum is a never ending circle; one exhibit flows right into another as an individual ascends or descends.  The individual pieces of art are next to each other, yet they are in their own gallery.  This is how art should be viewed.  As a continuum; pieces that are breathtaking and can be viewed and enjoyed for their individual merit, yet as a whole they encompass an exhibit that speaks volumes to the subject at hand.  This is how I felt about the exhibit "Haunted."  This exhibit featured contemporary photography, video and performance.  Photos, videos and past performances are essentially ghosts of the individuals that were photographed or videotaped.  An image is the freezing of time; a moment; a feeling; an event.  It's one of these things, yet it's all of these things.  When we leave this world, there will still be part of us left behind in these images.  Does that make you look at an image or a video differently?  Do the pictures that you take, that you post, define you?  Do they represent the person you were at that time?  Do they represent what you aspire to be?

Seeing this exhibit was, for lack of a better word, very haunting.  To view these images and realize these ghosts of the past (some even decades ago) were there in some form on the day I visited, it's just staggering.  Were those individuals aware that they would be viewed in such a way?  What would they think?  Photography and video is a great way of remembering and capturing the world.  The artist behind the camera could be feeling very different emotionally than the subject of their work; however, a good artist will not only be able to capture the subject, but they'll be able to capture that emotion.  That emotion is what will live on forever when we, as individuals, are no longer here.  Think of the Guggenheim; it's Frank Lloyd Wright living on forever.  He had the push, guts and mental and emotional fortitude to follow his dream and achieve his vision, no matter how many people were against it.  Today, the building doesn't look like typical architecture from the '50s - it looks contemporary or futuristic even to today's standards.  This is part of his legacy.  He lives on forever; we are haunted by his beauty every day.

As an amateur photographer, if I can can convey an emotion of the moment that I captured, than I, in essence, am doing what I set out to do with my photography.