Guggenheim Museum Marks Completion of Building Restoration


“For the Guggenheim” – A Site-Specific Light-Projection by Jenny Holzer – Will Illuminate Guggenheim’s Newly Restored Facade through New Year

(NEW YORK, NY – September 22, 2008) – On September 22, at approximately 6:45 pm, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will officially mark the completion of its three-year restoration project with a ceremony officiated by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. The celebration includes the inauguration of a site-specific work of art created by artist Jenny Holzer to illuminate the building’s newly restored facade and in honor of the restoration’s major benefactor Peter B. Lewis. Holzer’s work, entitled, For the Guggenheim, will be a light projection onto the exterior surface of the museum and will be illuminated every Friday evening, beginning September 26 through December 31, 2008, from dusk to 11 pm, with a special additional showing on New Year’s Eve.

The restoration of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum was made possible through the generous support of Peter B. Lewis, the Board of Trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of New York. Additional support was provided by the State of New York and MAPEI Corporation.

Jenny Holzer’s, For the Guggenheim
In celebration of the restoration and as a tribute to Mr. Lewis, the Foundation commissioned artist Jenny Holzer to create a site-specific light projection for the facade of the museum. Her transformative work will cast large-scale texts—comprising the artist’s own writings and numerous poems—directly onto Frank Lloyd Wright’s curving architecture. Suffused with a play of light and changing language, the building and its surroundings will become an environment for looking, discussion, and gathering.

The commission extends the museum’s substantial commitment to the artist’s work, established in her 1989 survey at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and in works commissioned for the permanent collections of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Holzer comments, "I am so happy that the Guggenheim has invited me to project on Wright's perfect building. It was an honor to hang text inside twenty years ago, and working with the museum's great face is the best possible return.”

The Restoration
Beginning September 2005 to July 2008, the Guggenheim Museum was enclosed in scaffolding while a team of architects, structural engineers, and conservators undertook a comprehensive condition assessment and restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright's landmark building in preparation for its 50th anniversary celebration in 2009. While in good structural condition, the building required the removal of 11 coats of paint, infilling of exterior cracks, treatment of corroded steel structures and repair and reinforcement of the concrete.

The restoration was initiated in 2003 when former Chairman of the Guggenheim Board of Trustees, Peter B. Lewis, pledged a significant gift to the project. “We are extremely grateful to Peter for providing the impetus and enabling this critical restoration,” said William Mack, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Peter’s commitment to the preservation of this architectural treasure and his history of support of the Guggenheim was an inspiration for which we are most grateful.” Mr. Mack continued, “We are also indebted to Mayor Bloomberg, the New York City Council, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, and Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin for their very generous support. Significant grants from the State of New York, as well as many individual and corporate sponsors, also made this restoration a reality.”

Mr. Lewis joined the board of the Guggenheim in 1993, and was Chairman from 1998 to 2005. “I have always considered this building to be the most important piece of art in the Guggenheim’s collection, and it has been a privilege to be part of its historic restoration.”

Free Day at the Guggenheim, Thursday, October 30
To thank New Yorkers for their patience during the three-year restoration during which the building remained opened but was covered in scaffolding, the Guggenheim is offering a day of free admission on October 30, a Thursday, which is the day of the week the museum is generally closed to the public. This is the first free day since 1992.

About Jenny Holzer
For more than thirty years, Jenny Holzer’s incisive work has drawn on the explosive power of the written word. Incorporating strategies of mass-communication and the politics of public space, her street posters, LED displays, carved stone benches, and recent paintings tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time. Text-based light projections have been central to Holzer’s practice since 1996. Akin to credits rolling at the end of a film, the projected language allows her to work demonstratively with the ephemeral. Linking Holzer’s early street-based practice to her longstanding engagement with media and approaches common to the worlds of news and advertising, the projections have enabled the artist to continue to reach, surprise, and intrigue audiences. Holzer’s projections have taken place in four continents, fourteen countries, and more than thirty cities including Florence, Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Venice, Oslo, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Paris, Singapore, San Diego and New York City . From Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin and I.M. Pei’s Pyramide du Louvre in Paris, to the New York Public Library and Rockefeller Center in New York, Holzer’s light events have reimagined and paid tribute to iconic architectural spaces throughout the world.

About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, primarily of the modern and contemporary periods, through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. Currently the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation owns and operates the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue in New York and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal in Venice, and also provides programming and management for two other museums in Europe that bear its name: the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin. In early 2013 the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a 452,000 square foot museum of modern and contemporary art designed by architect Frank Gehry, is scheduled to open.


September 5, 2008
Updated September 22, 2008

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