Topics for Further Discussion

Topics for Further Discussion

"A Temple of Spirit"

Hilla Rebay's 1943 letter to Frank Lloyd Wright asked him to design "a temple of spirit." People have varying ideas about what makes a place spiritual. For some, it may be a natural environment, like a forest or a beach. For others, a church, synagogue, mosque, or other building is the site that supports a spiritual experience. Ask each student to brainstorm a list of words they would use to describe the perfect spiritual environment. Ask them to make a sketch, model, or narrative description of that place. Then, have students present their visions to the class.

Reacting to Innovation

When the Guggenheim Museum first opened to the public in 1959 some people objected to it. People protested, wrote angry letters, and published satirical cartoons about its unique architecture. Here are some of the cartoons that appeared in magazines and newspapers.

"There Goes the Neighborhood"

What does the museum remind you of? Why do you think some people were initially so upset by its design? In her book There Goes the Neighborhood, author Susan Goldman Rubin cites many examples of buildings that were criticized when they were first built, but have eventually been embraced by the public. Do you know examples of art, literature, architecture, inventions, or ideas that initially prompted public criticism eventually won acceptance? What are they? Why do you think they were criticized?

Achieving Landmark Status

In 1990 the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to designate the Guggenheim Museum an official landmark. It is the youngest building ever to receive such recognition.

What do we mean when we call a building a "landmark"? Can you name a landmark that you have visited? Why do you think it is considered a landmark? What building(s) would you nominate for official landmark status? Why?

Sackler Center

This presentation, comprised of selected materials from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, pays homage to the first Frank Lloyd Wright–designed structures in New York City.

Works & Process

Photo: Petrus Sjövik

The world's great artists want to show you how they work. Works & Process provides extraordinary access to artists and intellectuals, blending performance and discussion about the creative process. Subscribe to e-news for updates and special offers.


Inside the Guggenheim

Inside the Guggenheim
5 Mondays, February 9–March 30, 4:30–6:30 pm

During five sessions, students explore the museum’s history and collection as well as the development of its special exhibitions.

More events

Wilfredo Prieto, Walk, 2000

MAP Global Art

Explore works by 40 artists and collaborative duos featured in Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today.

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