Contemplating the Void at the Guggenheim

The Guggenheim Museum building is one of the most New York City structures, instantly recognizable for its spiral shape designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Even more unique, however, is what lies in the central rotunda of that spiral: nothing. The space is empty, except for the occasional temporary exhibition that comes through. In celebration of the building’s 50th anniversary, the Guggenheim invited about 200 architects, designers, and artists to dream ways to fill the void in a new exhibition Contemplating the Void.

The suggestions range from the sublime to the ridiculous, including suggestions for a scuba park, a laser show, sharks, and an Arabian oil rig, among others. Here are some of my favorites:

"Experiencing the Void" by Julien De Smedt Architects

A giant trampoline net spiraling down from the Rotunda so people could jump into the space. How fun would that be?!

"Untitled" by N55

N55 suggests that “all visitors get an Antipower Kit that would allow them to demolish parts of the building. The kit could contain tools like explosives or soil and plant seeds. While the building disappears in this way, the doors should be left open for people, animals, and plants to move in and inhabit it.” Combining art with explosives? A dynamite idea.

Cerith Wyn Evans:

Evans submitted only a letter, suggesting that “the Guggenheim employs a witch who stands on the floor in the center of the atrium, levitates toward the ceiling, casting a spell that makes the entire museum disappear during the opening hours of that day.”

I wonder how one goes about employing a witch?

"Untitled" by Anish Kapoor

Practical? Absolutely not. But totally beautiful.

An exhibition of the submitted ideas opened last week and will run through April 28. The Guggenheim is free to Columbia students through the Passport to NY program. The submissions are also available online. How would you fill the void?

Darcy Zacharias, CC ’10

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One Response to Contemplating the Void at the Guggenheim

  1. Hologram! A perfect place for imagery on screens or holograms! High tech and art! A most perfect solution.

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