The Guggenheim

I finally made it to the Guggenheim yesterday. I’ve been working a block away for coming up to a year and this is my first visit, pretty pathetic really.

The main exhibition was ‘The Eye of the Storm’ by Daniel Buren. The star of the show was definitely the museum itself; all Daniel Buren has done is embellish the place with pieces of colored gel. There is gel on all the windows and you can look at Central Park in red, yellow etc… it looks kind of cheap from the inside. The roof looks nice, especially from the outside, which no one can see. A broker from our office took the below shot; she just happens to be selling an apartment with this stunning view.

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Here is the roof as it looks from the inside:

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There is also a huge right-angled mirror stretching from the ground to the roof of the atrium. This is a little disorientating as you can see.

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This is a postcard I got with a wide angled shot:

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I also got to see a Klee exhibit (my 10th or something; everywhere I go there seems to be a Klee exhibit – and I never see the same paintings twice!). I was impressed with the Kandinsky gallery; I didn’t think I liked him, but there were a couple of paintings that really struck me. I always liked his earlier landscape paintings but found the geometric works too stark. The paintings that caught my eye reminded me more of Miro, in that they were warmer and more playful than I thought he was capable.

Moving on, there were smatterings of Picasso, Pissarro, Van Gogh, and all the usual suspects in the other galleries. I dutifully stood in front of each, but was much more interested in exploring the building. I circled my way up and up until, at the top, I found an exhibit called ‘The Doppelganger Trilogy’ by Slater Bradley. This consisted of 3 video installations, which I usually HATE, as they look so tacky. To me, art should be visually striking; quality is key to this and the medium of video just isn’t up to the job. Not yet anyway. This exhibit was different though, as the poor quality was the point. To my great surprise, I suddenly heard Joy Division blaring out of the darkness. One of the rooms had a barely visible Ian Curtis performing ‘Decades’ at full volume against the back wall. You could just make out the ghostly figure of his body as he shifted slowly back and forth occasionally reaching for the mike stand.

Factory Archives imagines Ian Curtis, lead singer of the short-lived punk band Joy Division, through the grainy haze of aging video stock. As if retrieved from the vaults of Factory Records, this fragment depicts an elusive performer just before the dawn of MTV, when the choreographed music video would forever change how culture consumes its rock ‘n’ roll.

This was definitely the highlight, I sat through the video twice—until my eyes lost focus and the hypnotic effect made me feel queasy. It is odd that I found Manchester on the top floor of two New York art galleries in the space of 1 month.