The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum officially reopens its doors on Saturday after six long months of closure with three major shows, including a Jackson Pollock exhibit that features a mural that hasn't been shown in NYC in more than 20 years.
On Wednesday, we got a sneak peek at what's on at the Guggenheim and how it'll be handing health and safety protocols when it reopens.
First off, when you get to the museum, you'll be expected to wear your mask at all times, adhere to social distancing with help from signs the museum has posted along its exhibits and use hand sanitizer when needed. The good news is that the museum will be much less crowded than usual since its capacity is at 25 percent. That means you'll be able to enjoy the artworks up close and at your own pace.
Here's what you'll see when you return:
"Away from the Easel: Jackson Pollock’s Mural," through September 19, 2021
At the Guggenheim, you'll get to see the first major painting by Pollock that was commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim for her home in 1943. "Mural," as it simply called, hasn't been shown in New York in more than 20 years. It's about 20 feet wide and 8 feet tall—the largest of Pollock's works.
Pollock stretched the canvas and tore down a wall in his downtown apartment to make room for it.
Guggenheim paid the artist a monthly stipend that allowed him to paint full-time, which helped him establish his career—he had his first solo exhibition at the museum after the commission. It was during this time that he started to experiment further with abstraction.
"Mural" has been at Iowa's Stanley Museum of Art, where Guggenheim donated it, until now. Three other works of Pollock's are also on view along side it at the Guggenheim as well. including "The She-Wolf" and "Untitled (Green Silver)."
"Knotted, Torn, Scattered: Sculpture after Abstract Expressionism," through September 19, 2021
Next to Pollock's exhibit, "Knotted, Torn, Scattered" showcases works by Lynda Benglis, Maren Hassinger, Robert Morris, Senga Nengudi, Richard Serra, and Tony Smith that were created in the years following World War II, alongside contemporaries like Pollock.
According to the museum, there was a shift in American art toward highlighting and playing with the physical properties of materials.
Richard Serra’s "Belts" (1966–67) is an installation of industrial rubber coils and neon that is “structurally related to Pollock’s "Mural," according to Serra. "If my origins culminated in anything, they culminated in Pollock. Then I felt I needed to move into literal space.”
Lynda Benglis' knotted sculpture was an attempt to “get off the wall with the canvas” and Tony Smith’s "Wingbone" (1962) uses human-scaled forms to "translate spiritual ambitions through organic geometries. Maren Hassinger’s "Untitled" (1972/2020) is made of eight lengths of nautical rope that she repeatedly hand-spliced and hung while and Robert Morris’s "Untitled (Pink Felt)" (1970), also uses industrial materials (sliced pink industrial felt pieces) dropped on the ground.
"Countryside, The Future," through February 14, 2021
A hay bale hangs from the ceiling of the Guggenheim's rotunda. In fact, it and country-themed factoids and floor stickers decorate the floor as you come in the museum's front doors. It's an odd scene, especially after coming in from walking the streets of a huge cosmopolitan city. The exhibition, "Countryside, the Future" is the first exhibit you'll see and it spans all the floors of the spiraled building. Just as it sounds, the show explores the "country's" dance with technology, showing ways farmers, horticulturists, preservationists and others have transitioned into using modern innovations. There's no art, however, the walls are covered in what artnet.com calls "literal and figurative wallpaper" that presents charts, graphs, archival photos and videos that show examples of this.
For those interested in more art, the museum has its permanent collection still on view, where you can see works of Degas, Picasso, Gauguin and others, as well as a showing of Brancusi and an exhibit of abstract art by Agnes Martin, Roman Opałka, and Park Seo-Bo called "Marking Time: Process in Minimal Abstraction."
The Guggenheim reopens on Saturday and will be open Thursdays through Mondays from 11am to 6pm. Tickets ($25) must be bought in advance online. Pay-what-you-wish admission is on Fridays and Saturdays from 4 to 6pm.
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