Re: Contemplating the Void

As part of the Guggenheim's 50th-anniversary year on May 14, 2010, the museum ran a month-long competition corresponding to the exhibition Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim, inviting participants to reimagine the museum's iconic rotunda and submit their ideas via the image-sharing site Flickr. At midnight on May 14, 2010, the Re: Contemplating the Void—Create Your Own Guggenheim Intervention competition closed after receiving over 200 submissions. After careful review, Contemplating the Void curators Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, and David Van Der Leer, Assistant Curator for Architecture and Design, have selected five winning submissions. Congratulations to all of the winners! Please note that the competition Flickr pool will remain open for others to share their own reimaginings of the Guggenheim’s rotunda.

Below, each winner describes the inspiration behind his or her design.

The Buried Void

The Buried Void
Noel Turgeon
St. Paul, Minnesota

In The Buried Void, a stream of sand falls continuously from the oculus at the top of the Guggenheim into the museum and collects on the rotunda floor. For fifty years the sand will gradually fill the void, stopping on October 21, 2059 (the 100th anniversary of the Guggenheim) when it will have filled the space completely. Until then, guests in the building will be encouraged to experience and actively participate in this measure of time: as the physical objects in their lives become obsolete, visitors are encouraged to place them into museum-provided capsules and throw them into the sand. During the centennial celebration of the Guggenheim the rotunda will be excavated and the contents will be displayed in an evolutionary retrospective of forgotten things from the first half of the 21st century. The inspiration for this intervention comes from two sources: the first is wondering what will be forgotten by the future and how it could be remembered, the second is a desire to trace the passage of time through the physical means of space and objects.


Lucio Carvalho
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Favelart was inspired by Brazil where, if the culture does not reach out to parts that are in poverty, then poverty will, in turn, invade the culture.


David Andrew Tasman
New York, New York

Sunflowers proposes the installation of a field of sunflowers on the upper level of the rotunda. For the past 50 years, the Guggenheim has helped to bring art into life as well as the reverse. By bringing the outside in, the typical relationship between building and landscape is inverted, making the natural available for contemplation in a way that is normally reserved for works of art. The inspiration for this intervention came from an interest in popular culture and using contrasting juxtapositions as away to invoke the sublime.

Void Condition(ed)

Bad Architects Group (Paul Burgstaller/Ursula Faix
Innsbruck, Austria

VOID CONDITION(ED) was inspired by the German word for “void” (luftraum), which literally translates to “air space,” and the idea to change the space completely by changing it as little as possible.
 By conditioning the air already present in the void, one can access the space without interrupting how it currently exists, while simultaneously adding another dimension or layer to the existing experience in form of a vertical wind tunnel.

WTF?! (watch the fool)

WTF?! (watch the fool)
Bruny Yan You Fu
Rennes, France

WTF?! (watch the fool) tries to give a geometrical response to "contemplating the void." The inspiration for this intervention was drawn from a story about the famous architect, Tadao Ando. When Ando was young, the roof of his house collapsed and left a big hole. This was when Ando came to realize that "contemplating the void" is also feeling the space, feeling the beauty of something invisible. Inspiration was also drawn from the Pantheon of Hadrien in Rome.

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