guggenheim museum
guggenheim
drawings
exterior
critical response
parallel movements
wright at the time
other works
guggenheim: exterior
guggenheim

believe that Wright made the Guggenheim a spiral because he had the ziggurat form in mind...the spiral of the Guggenheim museum is a ziggurat turned upside down. And when Wright was interviewed in 1945 when he first presented these plans in New York, he was asked by a reporter from Time magazine why he turned it upside down. And he said because anything that forms a pyramidal shape is sad...and pessimistic, and of course the Egyptian pyramid, the image of death. And in his view, the turning of it upside down was to make, as he said, an optimistic ziggurat... the kind of mythic ziggurat which is the tower of Babel....

Hilla Rebay and Solomon Guggenheim believed that their nonobjective, abstract art was a form of common language. Almost an Esperanto which, in fact, from their point of view transcended the individual languages that had been the kind of bone of contention in the tower of Babel. And so it all came together, as far as I’m concerned in the Guggenheim museum where Wright not only brought you always back to the beginning, always completed that spiral, but did so for a program that had transcended the variety and the disparity and the competition of different languages.—Neil Levine, Architectural Historian

top of page