Into the Void

Entry by Saunders Architecture

Contemplating the Void, Interventions in the Guggenheim Museum, opening today at Frank Lloyd Wright’s swirly conch shell up town is an absolutely delightful thought experiment.  Simply put, what would you do to the great cavity within the museum if money were no object?  The answers to that question, submitted by some 189 architects, in the form of sketches, outlines, blueprints and computer renderings, are a hodgepodge of whimsy, anarchy and botany.  Many of the design minds would fill all or most of the cavity with liquid (most of them using water, one with the addition of sharks), even coffee or chocolate.  A few have gone with shimmery metallic coatings or installations to juxtapose the iconic plaster canvas-like interior. Others would run laundry lines across the gap, vent “thought bubbles,” hoist a Brancusi, erect giant people, host a farmer’s market, pile up trash, relocate a prison, a bouncy castle or a tenement courtyard to the central rotunda.  Several would pop the top of the thing all together and more than one seem to propose God’s rescuing the elect via UFO-like tractor beam aimed through the skylight.  None, however, was as violent-minded as Tom Twyker’s uzi-speckled vision in the Clive Owen vehicle The International, thanksgod.

Coincidentally, the meta moment here is not so hard to reach: Prattling about a museum with hushed footfalls one cannot help but notice that the entries in this show–which will be auctioned off March 4th as part of the 50 year anniversary fundraiser–are themselves works of art begging to be evaluated as they hang.  And maybe it is because it’s winter–and the show was so thoughtfully placed on the fourth floor veranda overlooking the park, i.e. Manhattan’s snow-caked cavity–but this Californian preferred the entries with the warmth of organic life.  And top of them all Saunders Architecture’s Lucasian Endorscape complete with a white-suited Wright walking about his creation, like a computer generated character out of lesser Spielberg, ageless and serene.

Through April 28th.

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