AUG 27 – Playing with lights in the Guggenheim

   When you get to New York, there are a couple of museums that you absolutely have to visit. If not for the exhibition than for its architecture. Like the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, an architectural wonder, a 20th century icon, designed by one of the pioneer of modern architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright. This organic space offers artists a chance to experiment, have fun and take the visitors on a wild trip. 
   It was the case with James Turrell, american artist who focuses on light and space. In 1966, Turrell moved into the Mendota Hotel, in Los Angeles, where he worked on exploring the perception of space through light. He used very high intensity projectors that created vibrant geometric shapes on the wall.

Afrum I (White)
Projected light, dimensions variable

Prado  (White)

Projected light, dimensions variable
  They also displayed 20 etchings from the First Light collection (1989-1990)

   But the best part of the exhibition was the first installation, the one that welcomes you into the museum. Turrell transformed the center room: he closed the sides and prepared a degradation of color-changing light installation, going from dark to lighter. The lightest shade on the top of the rotunda shape room gives it a feeling of infinity, a never ending space. Everyone’s lounged on the floor, dazing up. The LED lights go from violet to blue to red. 

   Luckily for me, they were also exhibiting one of my favorite artists, Vasily Kandinsky, a former Russian teacher of the German school, Bauhaus. In the 30’s, after migrating to Paris following the closing of the school, he started to experiment with different materials, such as sand and pigment. He was inspired by minuscule living organisms and natural sciences. I am not usually a fan of pastel colors, but I cannot imagine his work with a different color palette. 

Orange Violet

Oil on canvas

Graceful Ascent
Oil on canvas

   The final exhibition of the museum concerned Abstract art following the World War I (1914-1918). Artists focused on clean lines and a return to classical subjects in the arts. They all hoped that their work had the potential to push society towards change in the aftermath of the war.
   The De Stijl movement, led by Dutch artists, Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg had a radical vision of the world, and sought a universal aesthetic language based on principles of geometry. They claimed that balance and equilibrium would foster harmony in art and society. 

Tableau 2, 1922
Piet Mondrian
   Russian Constructivism artists, such as Gabo, had a utopian theory of geometric abstraction that began to migrate west as Soviet policy supported more conservative expression in the earl 1920’s. 

 Linear Construction in Space No. 2, 1958. 
Plexiglas and nylon monofilament 
Naum Gabo
   The Weimar Bauhaus, a German artistic and educational community dedicated to the development of a universally accessible design vocabulary, became home to the socially minded ideals of those devoted to abstraction. 

A II, 1924. 

Oil on canvas

László Moholy-Nagy

   So yeah, that’s a quick sum-up of 2 moving and inspiring hours at the Guggenheim! 



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