On October 15th four languages, three countries, and three astounding architectural projects will be brought together through a series of events and workshops to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation seeks to commemorate the event with a full day program of activities entitled Drawing the Guggenheim. Visitors can explore and sketch the museums during a variety of public drawing exercises, architectural tours, films and family events at each of the Guggenheim locations.
In New York, visitors to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim will no doubt be focused on capturing the building’s curved form and its contrasting relationship to Manhattan’s strict grid. Wright produced over 700 sketches of the building, the construction of which was completed in 1959, six months after the architect’s death. It seems appropriate then to facilitate drawing events which aim to explore different perspectives of the spaces and reflect on discoveries of the process together.
The museum has been criticized in the past for overshadowing its art, almost in a literal way, with constant negotiation needed to hang pieces on curved walls. But on this day the focus will be on the building, its processional curved quarter-mile ramp dotted with people, the large light-filled atrium, and its ability, in this case, to inspire and become art rather than just house it.
In Venice, Italy, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection will be brought to life at the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni where she lived and worked, offering free tours, life drawing and bilingual sketching prompts. A particularly interesting event will be “Peggy’s Non-finito Palace” workshop, addressing the unfinished nature of the 18th century Grand Canal palace. The Palazzo was originally planned to have five stories but was completed with only one. This leaves the question of the finished project open, and children aged 4-10 will be invited to become architects and complete the palace using LEGO.
While all this is happening globally, the festivities will likely be most heightened at Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao, where free drawing materials and multilingual prompts will aid in the creation of a number of creative interpretations. With its complex forms and iridescent skin, the Guggenheim Bilbao is famous not just for its groundbreaking architectural language but also for changing the direction of the architecture discipline economically. This prompted the now often touted “Bilbao effect” – referring to the drastic boost in the economy of the city following the completion of the project.
This was, however, its objective. In 1991 the Basque government envisioned the project as a means of invigorating the city’s dilapidated port, pitching the idea to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Gehry’s scheme spoke to the future of building, utilizing the advanced software CATIA that allowed for the seemingly impossible structural solutions. The ways in which these will be captured via the drawing process will offer a new perspective of the machine-like building and define a relationship between the analog image and the digital process.
All the drawings produced on the day can be photographed and uploaded with the tag #DrawingtheGuggenheim and in Bilbao can be left with the museum.
More information about the event can be found here.
News via: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
This article originally appeared on guggenheim.org/blogs under the title "Wright's Living Organism: The Evolution of the Guggenheim Museum," and is used with permission. Standing on the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum construction site in 1957, architect Frank Lloyd Wright proclaimed, "It is all one thing, all an integral, not part upon part.
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