Sculpture or building, marvel or monstrosity, “indigestible hot cross bun” or Dr. Doolittle’s giant pet, “the snail”? When the Guggenheim Museum opened 50 years ago in New York City, everyone had plenty to say about architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s last great work. Even when critics likened the building to a misshapen pastry, no one disagreed that this $3 million structure of spiraling concrete demanded acknowledgement.
Situated on Fifth Avenue, Wright’s massive seashell overlooks Central Park, the creation of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The Guggenheim’s nautical allusions reflect the appreciation of nature and physical dynamics that are characteristic of Wright’s designs.