Guggenheim New York re-opens after 6 months

By Jorge Fuentelsaz

New York, Sep 30 (efe-epa).- The New York branch of the Guggenheim Museum opened its doors on Wednesday, becoming the last of the Big Apple’s trio of great art temples to resume operations after the coronavirus pandemic all but shut down culture in this city of 8 million people.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, known as the Met, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) have been back in business since August.

Visitors to the Guggenheim on Wednesday were greeted by a large tractor, an appropriate introduction to the exhibition “Countryside, The Future,” resuming the run that was cut short in March after just a few weeks.

Everyone must wear a mask and the number allowed in at a given moment is only 25 percent of what was “normal” before Covid-19 claimed more than 32,000 lives in New York City.

The re-opening of the Solomon R. Guggenheim will contribute to revitalizing the cultural life that is so central to the city’s identity, the museum’s director of operations, Trevor Tyrrell, told Efe.

“I think that we’re a big part of that for people in New York,” he said. “We’re expecting our audience to be mainly New Yorkers when we first reopen. I think, given the experience everyone has had over the last six months, this is a great place to come to maybe start feeling a little bit like life is returning in a safe way.”

The museum itself, which takes the form of a continuous ramp, has the status of art. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Guggenheim New York is one of eight of his works collectively designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

“Countryside, The Future is an exhibition addressing urgent environmental, political, and socioeconomic issues through the lens of architect and urbanist Rem Koolhaas and Samir Bantal, Director of AMO, the think tank of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA),” the Guggenheim says on its website.

The items on display in the galleries were chosen with an eye toward depicting the evolution of the country/city dichotomy and the realities of rural life.

One space is dedicated to country music, another looks at the representation of agriculture and the country in toys and games, while the exhibit also explores the variations in rural policies in countries ranging from France to the United States by way of Qatar and the former Soviet Union.

Appearing on the ceiling of the final gallery is a text that begins, “If you live in cities, you don’t live in the most beautiful parts of the world … What happens to the world becomes remote-you experience the suffering of nature second- or third-hand … Tourism doesn’t help – it imports urban values to the heart of vulnerable ecosystems.”

People who show up at the Guggenheim when it re-opens to the general public on Saturday will also get the chance to see a Jackson Pollock piece that is making its debut at the museum.

“Away from the Easel: Jackson Pollock’s Mural” includes not only the first monumental painting by the artist, but works from the 1960s and ’70s that drew inspiration from Pollock (1912-1956).

“It’s this great opportunity to be intimate with a painting that was really transformative for Jackson Pollock,” Guggenheim curator Megan Fontanella told Efe. “This year, 1943, was really a moment where his style was changing, evolving. And it’s his first work on this really monumental scale.” EFE jfu/dr

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