In 1939 the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation opened its first gallery space—the Museum of Non-Objective Painting—in a former Manhattan automobile showroom on East 54th Street. Seventy-five years later, the Guggenheim Foundation operates museums in New York, Venice, Bilbao, and soon, Abu Dhabi. Designed by some of the world’s most prominent architects, these museums have often been distinguished as much by their architecture as by the art displayed within. They have also sparked debates ranging from the intrusiveness of architecture in an art museum to the ability of a single building to transform an entire city. The Guggenheim has transcended the conventional art museum to simultaneously become art collection, international constellation of architectural icons, and brand.
This publication will critically examine the past, present, and future architectural impact of this global institution.