ARC 232 discussion board: TOPIC 04

TOPIC 04: Museums (part 1)

The Guggenheim is central to the late work of Frank Lloyd Wright, to mid-century Modernism, and to New York City’s architecture. Review your reading and the SmartHistory video, in which one of the hosts asks:

Should a museum be a neutral container? Should paintings be hung in simple white boxes, or should the architectural design contribute to the aesthetic experience?

In your post, explain if in this special functional building type, the art museum, the architecture should have a combative or complementary relationship to its contents. 

Your response comments on at least two colleagues’ posts due by the following Thursday.

59 Comments

  1. Reply
    Andrew Rogers April 11, 2018

    Personally, I believe that a museum should have a complementary relationship with its contents. The Guggenheim is a piece of art in itself and I believe that it is a perfect place to show artwork. When placing art in a plain white box you are left to only focus on the art, that is the only place for your eye to go. Having art displayed in a building such as The Guggenheim requires it to be something extraordinary. The video mentions that The Guggenheim is not going to let itself fall into the background and I think that is reasonable. It gives viewers the ability to enjoy the art as well as enjoy the space that it is presented. With this being said, I think that the architecture of a space presenting art should work with the art and give the viewer a feeling that they are not only viewing art, but they are also apart of it.

    • Reply
      Caleb Rutter April 14, 2018

      I agree with you I think that a complementary approach to museums and architecture allows for a more in depth experience between the viewer and the art. I think that you are right when you mention that the viewer is going to get a certain feeling in regards to the way the space they are in contributes to the art that they are looking at. Architecture is not meant to just be a plain white box because people are influenced by the forms of space that they are in and museums are a building type that should have a creative space to compliment the creative contents.

  2. Reply
    Grant Bradman April 12, 2018

    I feel as though the museum and the art should compliment one another. When you step into a building that is a neutral container it doesn’t feel special, it doesn’t feel like it should house priceless art. When I think of a neutral container my mind goes more towards a grocery store. Something that doesn’t really need to draw you in. However, the building should not also be so over the top that it takes place of the art. They should go hand in hand and one should not necessarily out shine the other. The art has the potential to express itself while also not standing out too much.

    • Reply
      Maxwell Starcevich April 13, 2018

      Interesting. Maybe a neutral container is just code for a lazy building. How can a building be neutral anyway?

      I do think that a building can outshine art, and the other way around. I don’t know if that’s a bad thing though. Optimally they should both be good, but to me, having a mediocre building with mediocre art still isn’t as good as mediocre building with great art, even though the first option complements itself better.

    • Reply
      Andrew Rogers April 14, 2018

      Grant, I could not agree more. If the art and the space were competing then there would be tension and the viewers attention would be constantly changing. This is a bad idea because it would take away from the art being presented.

  3. Reply
    Ian Burns April 12, 2018

    In response to the host’s question, I say no; a museum should not be a neutral container, unless it is inherently the purpose of the design. I firmly believe that, with nearly all building types, the design of the building should be consistent with the function of the space – something like what Dr. Miller teaches with visiting a city for the first time and being able to distinguish between churches, institutions, civic functions, etc. In this belief, I see museums as creations of space and design that contribute to the experience of viewing art (or whatever the museum holds); two quick examples are the Smithsonian National Museum of History and the Museum of Modern Art (NYC).

    As for the paintings to be hung in simple white boxes, it ultimately depends on the design of the space. Of course, the upside for artwork to be placed in a bland space creates little visual distraction to take away from the real purpose of the space: the art itself. But for the discussion of whether a museum’s architecture should have a combative (contrasting) or complimentary relationship to its contents, neither is the better or worse choice. However the relationship, though, it mustn’t be conflicting.

    (Note: I have replaced “combative” for a softer synonym “contrast”. Furthermore, “contrasting” ≠ “conflicting”.)

    • Reply
      Maxwell Starcevich April 13, 2018

      Ian, you mention that the design of buildings should clearly demonstrate the function of the space. It seems like the ability to identify a building’s function is common in our day, as we have a conception of what churches look like as opposed to an office building. But I wonder if that ability to distinguish building function by visual cues is necessary.

      Should we be able to distinguish them based on how they look? I’m not a post-modernist, but I wonder if there is value in designing buildings to be great on their own, and not worrying about making them look like the function. To me, it is limiting to design a bank to look like a bank, when you could design a bank to function properly and look nice and come up with a completely different form. Certainly there are limitations with certain functional types like churches with liturgy and hospitals.

  4. Reply
    Monica Medina April 13, 2018

    I do not think that museums should be a neutral container. Frank Lloyd Wright built the Guggenheim Museums while keeping in mind design and fluidity. This Museum it’s self is a piece of art, and I think that the structure of museums should make you feel as if you were a part of the piece of art. In the video, they mentioned how the “container” is an object in the collection. Just as Wright was trying to convey the fluidity of the museum, I think all museums should convey that type of oneness connecting the pieces of art to the museum structure.

    • Reply
      Elizabeth Van Bruggen April 15, 2018

      If a museum conveys a oneness with the art are we at one with the building or the art inside? If we are focused on the architecture and it’s beauty are we appreciating the building to its fullest potential? I agree that there should be some form of fluidity, but I also think there should be some element that draws the viewers attention to the art and not just in and through the building.

    • Reply
      Caleb Rutter April 19, 2018

      I agree with you that the art and museum should work together to have an influence on the people who are visiting the building. I think museums and buildings in general are more than just “containers” they are influential spaces that people interact with and when a museum complements the art, people have a more enjoyable time.

    • Reply
      Brooke Nickell April 19, 2018

      Monica I also believe that the buildings are inherently art, good or bad and their degree of being successful is the degree to which they help or hinder the art inside. I believe that all architecture is art, it is an art form. However, that doesn’t mean it always is good. I think that the Guggenheim holding abstract art compliments it well, yet I think that traditional as well as “contemporary” art could be effective housed in a traditional building as well as an abstract ones.

  5. Reply
    Jacob Collins April 13, 2018

    In my opinion the design of a museum should help to emphasize the things that are going to be displayed in them. I think that the aesthetic qualities of a museum should fight with the art for what is greater but the pieces of art should be displayed in a larger scale work of art

    • Reply
      Andrew Rogers April 14, 2018

      I disagree with your thought that the art and the space should “fight.” I think that if they were to fight then the viewer would not be able to get the most out of the experience while viewing the piece.

    • Reply
      Abacuc Rodriguez April 19, 2018

      I don’t think that the aesthetic qualities of a museum should fight with the art. I believe in order for the experience of the audience to be the best possible, the art and museum should work hand and hand. If the museum compliments the art work, then I think the art will be more enjoyable and the space you interact with will also be more enjoyable.

    • Reply
      Grant Bradman April 19, 2018

      I agree with Andrew on that the art and space should not fight. I feel as though if the art and the space are fighting it would be hard to distinguish what you are really going to see. It may make the purpose of a museum fuzzy and hard to understand.

  6. Reply
    Desmond Wahlfeld April 13, 2018

    This is definitely a curious question because subjectively the Guggenheim is itself an attraction simply being a Frank Lloyd Wright building in addition to being a great architectural piece however that can easily go in either the direction that the structure distracts from the art or that the uniqueness of the building can draw people in to see the art. That being said I believe the architecture should be complementary to that of the art within; such is the Guggenheim. Frank Lloyd Wright described the Guggenheim such that, “these geometric forms suggest certain human ideas, moods, sentiments – as for instance: the circle, infinity; the triangle, structural unity; the spiral, organic progress; the square, integrity” such are the shared disciplines of the artwork contained within.

    • Reply
      Ian Burns April 19, 2018

      In your response, you said that the architecture of a museum should be complementary to art of which it encloses. Do you think that a museum’s architecture can still be contrasting and still be labeled a successful museum; where it doesn’t distract from the art and draws viewers in?

  7. Reply
    Maxwell Starcevich April 13, 2018

    The question asked is whether art museum architecture should have a combative or complementary relationship to its contents. However, I don’t think that the two options are sufficient.

    In my opinion, architecture always has elements of goodness and fallenness in it. No building is perfect, and no building is totally imperfect. This I believe stems from a Christian view, a view that says humans bear God’s image (and can make good things) and are sinners (all things they make are imperfect). This may seem like an aside, but it directly impacts whether or not architecture can be classified as combative or complementary in the first place. There is no binary distinction between good and bad architecture. All buildings fall somewhere on a scale of goodness, some are very good, others are quite bad. The point is not to say all architecture is a wash, rather, there is not a point at which one can say, “This is totally bad,” or, “This is totally good.” Instead, I believe I can say, “I recognize more good in this than bad,” and vice versa. It may seem like semantics, but this distinction is necessary.

    This is not to deny absolute truth and beauty. Absolute truth and the beauty that follows it does exist. But humans are saturated in falsehoods, and cannot fully understand these things in the present state.

    So, with that said, why are those terms not appropriate? “Combative” and “Complementary” suggest that architecture CAN combat or complement objects. But those terms are best applied to living things, not objects. Humans fight and complement each other. Likewise with animals and plants. But architecture is made of objects. Personally, my goal for designing an art museum, (or any building), is to make it beautiful. That includes beauty in all aspects, function, vision, sounds, and many others. Thus I believe that if a building is sufficiently beautiful, any art can be placed within it and be successful. Likewise, if the art is sufficiently beautiful, it does not need to be housed in a beautiful building. Beautiful objects stand on their own, they are not context dependent. In fact, the cannot be context dependent because if beauty is dictated by absolute truth, then no matter where an object is, if it is perfect, nothing can detract from it.

    So how does that play out practically speaking? I think that a well crafted Japanese woodcut can be displayed in San Andrea Mantua, and Da Vinci’s Last Supper could reside in Tadao Ando’s Pulitzer Arts Foundation. If the art has much beauty in it, and the architecture also, then the outward forms of them should not matter, so long as both are beautiful. This is why I don’t say it should be combative, because it suggests the architecture and art are in opposition. But if both are beautiful they are in harmony. Likewise to say they are complementary suggests the architecture and art look similar. But if beauty does not have a form, then there is no necessity that they look similar.

  8. Reply
    Jenny Iverson April 14, 2018

    Examining the main purpose of an art museum, being to exhibit art, I would argue that its design should be complementary to its contents. If a building is intended to display beautiful works of art, I feel that the architect has a responsibility to make the building beautiful as well, so as to establish a unity between the museum and the art within. However, the key to this claim is that the architecture should be complementary as the design of a museum should not distract the public and deter attention from the art. I find that a building with this function should have a balance between being simple and ornate as an overly simple museum would not contribute to the experience of viewing the galleries, but an overly ornate design would take away from its entire purpose. With this, perhaps the beauty of an art museum can be best achieved through the design of its flooring, ceiling, or outward appearance so long as it establishes this complementary relationship with its contents. To take this further, I believe that the design of the museum should be influenced by the art that is intended to be displayed within it (if that knowledge is known at the time of its design), so that the building is coherent with the art and contributes the overall experience of the museum.

    • Reply
      Diana Romero April 18, 2018

      I partially agree with your perspective about the Guggenheim museum. It has pros and cons about the shape and the layout it has. I did not notice the fact that indeed might be distracting to be looking at art in such an open space. It is said that the proper way to look at art, and truly appreciate it is to stand in front of it for a long time. How can this be done easier in this museum when it’s only one path to follow? people will constantly try to move across from art piece to art piece while some other users just want to not be distracted. The openness of this museum will have us expecting what to look next, and not fully appreciating the painting we have in front. At the same time the floor is not regularly flat, this could be not comfortable for users who really want to stand in front of art for a longer time. Aesthetically talking, I think the museum is a piece of art itself, and because of that, it matches the art in the interior, and for some people, been able to see whats forward or what was left behind is a good thing.

    • Reply
      Ian Burns April 19, 2018

      With the talk of buildings being too ornate in decoration, does this apply to just the interior, exterior, or both? Because if there’s a museum that’s overly decorative and probably distracting on the exterior, though quite plain and complementary to the art on the interior, would this still be a successful building?

  9. Reply
    Taylor Wills April 14, 2018

    Museums are meant to display and share art with the public, and I feel the building itself can also be a masterful work as long as the museum maintains a complementary relationship with its contents. A spectacular piece of architecture like the Guggenheim can offer a symbol of the building’s function in that the art piece of the exterior contains more art within. However, when the building distracts from the way the art is meant to be experienced, I think the art-building relationship becomes combative and the design of the building has intruded too far. I feel this is the case with the Guggenheim, the sloped stairs and outward leaning walls do not offer a conducive space for visitors to stop and take in art. It does not surprise that Frank Lloyd Wright neglected the contents in order to display his own art; in the reading there was a speculation stating that to Wright, “the art housed within the building was perhaps incidental to his architectural genius.” Wright did incredible work and he knew it, as displayed in the interview listed for us to watch.

    • Reply
      Chloe Burkhart April 14, 2018

      In a way, I think it was smart for Wright to “[neglect] the contents” of the museum. Like I said in my post, I don’t think an architect should hold back his or her genius when creating a museum, as long as they don’t intentionally ruin or distract from the art inside. Luckily, although the Guggenheim is definitely a spectacle, I don’t think it takes away from its contents. The artist of the paintings and sculptures displayed inside probably weren’t worried about distracting from the other works of art that their piece might be displayed next to, so why should Wright?

  10. Reply
    Jarod Pletcher April 14, 2018

    Having visited the Guggenheim in New York myself, I can say that the architecture of the museum definitely influenced the way that I interacted with the art showcased within it. I have also been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, just down the road and Philadelphia Art Museum and they both do the same, but in a very different way. It is important to keep in mind, however, the type of art that each museum houses. The Guggenheim showcases non-objective art, sometimes called abstract. This art has a particular character that the the architecture of the Guggenheim Museum really captures and extenuates within its circular, conical walls. Likewise, the much more traditional architecture of the Met and the Philadelphia Art Museum compliment the more traditional art that they house. I believe that the function of the art museum is to provide a space that allows the viewer of the art to best understand the art, and each museum does just what it should for its respective art. The architecture which surrounds art does not need to be bland and completely void. It can instead be used to compliment the art it houses and thus enhance the aesthetic experience. I will point out that more recently, since the front part of Wrights design was build, a second part was added to the back of the museum. This area houses some more traditional art and as a result, the curators insured that the architecture was more regular and would compliment the art around it, just as Wright’s design complimented the non-objective nature of the original art curated by the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

    • Reply
      Diana Romero April 18, 2018

      I agree with your perspective about what type of art is being presented in the museum, and how the museum can make the experience better. The Guggenheim is normally presenting abstract pieces of art, which can definitely blend with the shape of the museum, and the walls that are holding this works. The walls don’t need to be plain if the art does not require it. I think that if we talk about more complex art that do need a place to held with more emptiness so the surroundings don’t become distracting, then the Guggenheim would not be a good place for this types of works. I think the Guggenheim is all a about matching the art it holds, and creating an interesting experience for the viewers.

    • Reply
      Grant Bradman April 19, 2018

      I agree with you completely. When I visited the museum, both the art and the space went hand in hand. Both of them completely complimented each other. I love when you said that the space around the art does not need to be completely bland because that is exactly how I feel about the space.

    • Reply
      JT (Jeffrey) Perek April 19, 2018

      I agree with your assessment of the building being complementary; and I find your reason interesting . I would not have thought about the type of art affecting the building design. It is a compelling point and a good insight that you have drawn from your experience.

  11. Reply
    Elizabeth Van Bruggen April 14, 2018

    If neutral in this situation is to be considered a box, I think the answer to this question in no, but if neutral means that the building itself is not a work of art I do not think that the architect of this building has succeeded in their role. There is something to be said about how a building makes us feel and how we interact with it much like Peter Zumthor talks about in many of his books. Considering this I would say that a museum is indeed not a neutral container, but it should add to the experience of the art. I think this can also depend on the type of museum too. If it is a museum in which the expositions will constantly be changing I think a space that can accommodate many different types of art would be appropriate, much like what was done with the Vienna Succession Building. This building and Frank Lloyd Wrights Guggenheim Museum are not neutral containers because of the presence and experience that is divulged on when visiting these sights. This being said, I think the architect could work alongside artists whose work would be displayed to create an entire aesthetic experience that adds to their work, whether this includes simple white boxes or an elaborate wall to frame a painting.

    • Reply
      Chloe Burkhart April 14, 2018

      I like how you said, “I think the architect could work alongside artists whose work would be displayed to create an entire aesthetic experience that adds to their work, whether this includes simple white boxes or an elaborate wall to frame a painting,” but what if the artist is no longer alive and the architect cannot ask the artist how to properly “add” to his or her work? Should then the architect design a blank white wall behind the art, or should the architect create his or her own “complementary” solution?

  12. Reply
    Abacuc Rodriguez April 14, 2018

    I believe that the museum and art should compliment each other. Of course the museum itself should not overshadow the art that it is housing, but it can compliment the art. If the museum you are stepping into does not feel special, then the art in the building will also feel less special. I believe you have to enjoy the space and the art. Art being placed in a simple neutral container is boring and does not contribute to the art. The Guggenheim by Frank Lloyd Wright is the perfect example of a museum that compliments the art inside. The space is very unique and people get to not only experience the art but also get to interact in a unique space. The space should not fall in the background of the art. With the art and the museum complimenting each other, I believe the experience for the viewer will be better.

    • Reply
      Jarod Pletcher April 20, 2018

      I agree with you Abacuc. I believe that the Guggenheim does a nice job of complimenting the artwork held within it, without overshadowing the art. The white walls and smooth edges to every detail still allow the architecture to fade to the background when a patron is intently focused on a particular work, but when a patron seeks to understand the sentiment of the work in the gallery, he or she need look no further than the architecture which surrounds them.

  13. Reply
    Caleb Rutter April 14, 2018

    I believe that architecture in itself is a form of art. I think that it is something that is important to the way that people interact with a space and in the context of a museum I think that becomes even more important. I believe that museums should be complementary to the art because architecture can play an important role in transitions of space and that can be interactive with a certain feeling that a piece of art may be trying to portray. Even from the exterior, museums such as the Guggenheim become pieces of art by themselves and that can create an attraction towards the building the same way people are attracted to the art inside. I do not think they should be combative because of this interaction people have. People are going to be influenced by the art they see, but they will also be influenced by the space they are in when they see it.

    • Reply
      Abacuc Rodriguez April 19, 2018

      I agree that the museum and the art should compliment each other. I like that you said that architecture is an art form itself, so it should be on par with the art in the museum. The space that we walk in should be interesting, especially in a an art museum, which houses interesting pieces. If they work together, then the experience for the viewer will be better.

    • Reply
      Jenny Iverson April 19, 2018

      I agree. The point of having an architect design a building is so that we can shape how people interact with it. I also like what you said about how the Guggenheim is a piece of art by itself and is a way to attract people to the art within. Thinking about the museums I’ve been to, it has always been the more beautiful and complementary ones that I have enjoyed the most. I think we take for granted the experience that a building creates for us, especially with museums in how they can make or break how we perceive the art.

  14. Reply
    Gabe David April 14, 2018

    I feel that the design of a museum should contribute aesthetically to the art that is contained within it. Art, in it of itself, plays with our emotions, it can make us feel or think different things depending on what is being displayed. The building should complement that idea, and work to enhance it in any way possible. If an architect were to design a museum and make it the most bland, uninspired design imaginable, the art which could occupy a myriad of mediums, would suffer for it. Some might argue that this could be deliberate contrast between the museum and the art. To have such a distinction as to make the art become more prevalent. While I can understand the basis of that idea, I think that a great opportunity would be missed if there did not exist a dialogue between the building and the art. I’d imagine it as the architect not designing for a particular client, but all the clients that would house their art in the museum. An interesting relationship can be made between architect and artist, where one complements the other. An example could be an artist who designs a sculpture that look fine on its own, but when light has an interaction, it can become even more interesting. This allows the architect to design an exhibit for this sculpture, where light is allowed to enter the building a specific way and thus creating the interaction. Just as the building is allowed to complement the art that is housed with in it, an architect can complement the work of the artist. For the people viewing the art this can help to enhance their visual experience and highlight the design work that goes into these pieces. This idea of complimentary designing can help turn a good artistic piece into a great one.

  15. Reply
    Chloe Burkhart April 14, 2018

    I think it would be silly for an architect to hold back his or her creativity in fear of creating a building that is too beautiful–something so beautiful that people are distracted from works of art displayed inside the building. (Of course I’m thinking of “distraction” coming from the beauty of a building because what good architect would strive for ugliness?) Why can’t a building that celebrates priceless paintings, sculptures, and photographs also be celebrated as artwork? Yes, a square building with four white walls may make it easier to focus on a painting hanging on one of the walls for some people, but (1) maybe some would consider the unembellished, “neutral” building beautiful and possibly “distracting” because beauty is subjective, and (2) a beautiful building that contributes to the aesthetic experience is just another piece of artwork worth exploring at the museum.

    Now, of course it would also be silly for an architect to totally disregard the purpose of a museum and just create a building that he or she deemed beautiful. Maybe that building would have all glass walls and make it impossible to hang paintings on or have little natural light to see the artwork with. Something highly embellished may be considered beautiful, but would probably not be appropriate for a museum because the embellishments would be distracting.

    With that said, with “museum” in mind, the architect should not hold back his or her creativity and intentionally design a subordinate building to house art; doing that opposes the integrity of the contents of the building and, in my opinion, is more distracting and combative than a building that is just as important as what is displayed inside. If both things are beautiful and able to be seen well, they are complementary.

    • Reply
      Anna Wightman April 15, 2018

      I find it really interesting the way you’ve described an architect “holding back his or her creativity” for the sake of creating a museum that did not distract from the artwork inside. I personally think that it would take just as much, if not more creativity to design a museum that was less prominent than the art it contained. You’re right that it wouldn’t take much effort to create a square building with white walls and call it a museum, but I think that a museum of simplicity, similar to Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, potentially takes more intentionality than an “artsy” museum that may be beautiful, but not necessarily directing its viewers towards the artwork inside it, which is the function of a museum.

  16. Reply
    Alex Karidas April 14, 2018

    Although the museum is a “container” for the art that does not eliminate the fact that a museum can be an art piece in of itself. The purpose of an art museum is as its name implies, which is to show off the multitude of works of art. Keeping this in mind I would have to say that the museums architectural elements should compliment whatever artwork is being displayed inside. This compliment would help reinforce the aesthetic quality of the buildings formal appearance as well as the art in the interior. As seen with the Guggenheim, the buildings formal quality only enhances the experience of the museum. This experience allows us to further our appreciation for the art inside.

    • Reply
      Monica Medina April 19, 2018

      I agree with when you say that the museum should compliment whatever is being displayed inside. I think when the museum compliments, it gives the viewer a better experience without everything becoming too distracting.

  17. Reply
    Adam Wise April 14, 2018

    Ethically, should a curator of an artwork have that much influence on the how such art is perceived? The purist in me believes that art should be left to express what the original artist had in mind, without the influence of the exhibitor’s grand vision. This, I guess, is not to say that a museum cannot express itself; I do thoroughly believe that the building should be an exhibit in of itself, expressing its own artistic truth independent of its contents. I don’t believe the issue needs to be an “either-or” of two extremes but simply that Architecture should understand its place. Obviously, you can never experience art in complete objectivity; there will always be some context that will influence the perceptions of the viewer. My final position is simply that discretion should be taken by the architect to not allow the architecture to overtly distract from the art.

    • Reply
      Brooke Nickell April 19, 2018

      I agree with you Adam, that whether or not the building may be considered to be a work of art its self that its ultimate purpose should be to display art. The purpose of the Guggenheim is to display the curated art. If the galleries were painted pink for example, this would be distracting from the art work. I would also argue that the building would be better serving its purpose when it complimented the art inside.

    • Reply
      JT (Jeffrey) Perek April 19, 2018

      I agree with your position. I think it is a matter of the architecture ultimately responding to its function. An architect should be allowed to produce something noteworthy, however the buildings purpose should be seen as paramount. The architecture can be interesting insomuch as it adds to the function; it should never detract.

    • Reply
      Aaron Foster April 19, 2018

      It is interesting to consider that the surroundings present while viewing can change the view of the art. Consider viewing the Mona Lisa when you are surrounded by hundreds trying to view the same thing. Does this change the art in any way? I think that to those that are looking to are for enjoyment should be able to objectively view art in any situation. But considering the layout, it is hard to have a full experience unless traveling through the entire space.

    • Reply
      Jarod Pletcher April 20, 2018

      I think that there exists a fine line between architecture which distracts from artwork and architecture which accurately exemplifies and assists the viewer in better understanding the sentiment behind a work of art. Architecture has an influence on the feeling of a space like no other work of art quite can, and I believe, in the Guggenheim, the architecture nicely compliments the art as a non-objective piece of architecture. In my opinion, this architecture does not distract from the art, but rather enhances it by creating an atmosphere around the art which is of the same nature as the art which the patron is viewing.

  18. Reply
    Diana Romero April 14, 2018

    I believe that if a museum’s purpose is to hold pieces of art, it is expected that the building is a piece of art itself. The Guggenheim museum very much represents a work of art in architecture and structurally. It’s interior with many patterns, shapes and interaction with light makes the experience with the art work displayed much more interesting to the users of the museum. The difference of this building is that makes the art exposed engaged with its surrounding but at the same time it makes it to be outstanding. At the same time this happens with the building itself, which is located in Manhattan, where most of the buildings are rectangular, because of this contrast with the city’s modularity, the Guggenheim is very much special. the Guggenheim makes the users feel like they are constantly looking at a piece of art.

    • Reply
      Monica Medina April 19, 2018

      I agree but disagree with you at the same time. While I do believe that the museum should be a piece of art its self, I do not think that it should distract with patterns and shapes. I do agree with the fact that the way the light interacts with the building is a fantastic way to create art within structure without distracting from the art that is placed in the museum.

  19. Reply
    JT (Jeffrey) Perek April 14, 2018

    In an art museum, and in buildings in general, the building should never detract from its function. You would not build a store that makes it difficult to purchase items, and you would not build an office building that makes it extremely difficult to work. A building should not be at odds with its purpose. Therefore,the question isn’t whether the building should be combative or complementary; it should be complementary. The question really is, what does complementary look like?

    A building that is as captivating as the art that is within it can be complementary in the same way that dance partners are complementary. They are each equally skilled and impressive, but the experience is what they are doing together. The art and the architecture in this type of museum work the same way. You are never experiencing just one; you are experiencing both.

    A simplistic building that lets the art take the foreground can be equally as successful. This type of building is complementary the way that canvas is complementary to paint. Only the paint is seen but the canvas is necessary. They are both doing equal parts, but one is diminished in order to emphasize the other.

    Buildings should always be complementary to their function, but the way that this is achieved in art museums can shift depending on the intended experience.

    • Reply
      Aaron Foster April 19, 2018

      It is an important point to discuss the function. Not even taking into account the aesthetics of the interior, it is important to take into account the layout of the space. In terms of function, because there is only one way to walk through the space, I do not think the building is well designed in terms of function. Aesthetically, I think it is a unique design, but the floor plan could be more successful.

  20. Reply
    Aaron Foster April 14, 2018

    Architecture is problem solving. Being given the project of designing an art museum assumes the responsibility to create a space that functions according to this purpose. This means that if the space designed to solve this problem takes away from the art than it is an incorrect solution to the problem. I see that a combative design would disrespect the artist and the work that is suppose to be displayed there. But, this does not mean that museums should be white boxes. There should be though in a complementary interior towards the work being displayed. This does not mean that the exterior should reflect the interior. The exterior ornament and architecture should be a statement just as the art is inside. A successful solution to the problem would be a complementary interior while making a statement on the exterior giving recognition to the build in order to attract more guests.

    • Reply
      Elizabeth Van Bruggen April 15, 2018

      I like how you said that a museum should be “a complementary interior towards the work being displayed”. I think that this implies that the building is neither distracting or to plain, but leads the viewer to the art without needing to be a statement. Maybe the exterior of the building is the same way? Maybe the exterior could draw people in, but not really be what the people are looking at or want more of in an effort to direct them to look more at the art that is inside?

    • Reply
      Anna Wightman April 15, 2018

      I think your statement that architecture is the solution to a problem is spot on. I also think each building itself is a solution of some kind. This way of thinking really highlights the intentionality required for each project we receive. I also think it’s important to note that museums should not be “white boxes” as you put it. A building should not be uninteresting because such a building would not do the art justice; It would be combative in its disinterest. To me, this type of “boring” or “ugly” museum would be worse than one that seemed to “outshine” the art that it held with it’s artistic quality. Both are distracting from the art inside, but one that was not “attractive” in some way would turn people away. This really reemphasizes the fact that we have to be intentional about design. For example, when we design a museum that will house art on the inside, we cannot forget to design the exterior with the same kind of deliberate thought.

  21. Reply
    Brooke Nickell April 14, 2018

    I believe that the museum should not be a white box but exude qualities that the artist community whose work is inside would approve. Museums should not, however, let its own beauty get in the way of its function, which is to house the art of others. The Guggenheim takes the form of the non objective art it houses. Its a beautiful concrete structure that is massive and top heavy but feels much lighter due to the horizontal separations in its facade. On the inside it offers a blank white spiral of empty walls and small galleries spaces sectioned up from the larger space. However some artists have found its walls less then friendly to paintings. The curved walls and sloped floors give rectilinear wall hangings the illusion of tilting or being warped. Another building I believe exemplifies complimenting art is David Adjaye’s African American history museum in D.C. It has a beautiful form that compliments the work inside.

    • Reply
      John Ashworth April 19, 2018

      I definitely agree in the value of letting the beauty of the architecture speak through the art featured. Never, however to be so overpowering as to defeat the purpose of having a museum in the first place, of course. From the architect’s perspective; is it about the audience, their experience with the art & architecture? Or is it about your ego as an amazing architect? I think the choice is obvious. I believe the Guggenheim is able to pull that fine balance off by letting the art speak for itself, so the form of Wright’s architecture can speak seperately.

  22. Reply
    Anna Wightman April 14, 2018

    Architecture is a very complex art form. I believe it can be manipulated in so many different ways that it can easily cross the boundary of complementary to combative. Generally, I would say that architecture, when used as a museum or space to house art, the building should not be combative. However, the word complementary is a little vague. To clarify, I think that a museum should attract the viewer and bring them closer, but direct the viewer towards the art. This does not mean that the building should exist at the same “loudness” or visual hierarchy as the art it encloses. when viewing art, the museum should recede into the background. I think the Guggenheim exemplifies what a great balance of these aspects looks like. It’s exterior demands your attention while its interior allows you to appreciate the art it exhibits.

    • Reply
      Jenny Iverson April 19, 2018

      I think you bring up a good point in saying that the term ‘complementary’ is vague. It is also interesting how you say that “the museum should recede into the background.” I think this is true, but to a point. To me, it depends on what is being showcased. With paintings and basic art, I believe this is true so that the art can make a statement for itself and the audience not be distracted. However, thinking of other kinds of museums like ones that showcase dinosaur skeletons and recreate time periods, I think there is a great opportunity for the architecture of the museum to contribute to the experience. Looking up at a T-Rex, it makes sense to me to see a grand ceiling, perhaps with some attractive ornament or a massive arch. I think you have to keep scale in mind, as well as decide what would be most complementary to the art without distracting from it. I believe that in the case of a T-Rex, the dinosaur speaks for itself and therefore the architecture of a building can be more detailed and beautiful as it already kind of recedes into the background due to the great mass of the skeleton and because it matches the intensity and scale of seeing a dinosaur.

    • Reply
      John Ashworth April 19, 2018

      Yeah, architecture is definitely very broad and can even be rather vague. When is a bench part of the architecture, or rather more like a sculpture featured inside the museum? If arhitecture is about attracting the viewer, then it would almost seem to function like a more sophisticated billboard. Though this is an interesting concept, I believe architecture has a more important role, beyond marketing, that is about the space it occupies once the viewer has already been ‘lured’ inside. I wonder how one could measure relative ‘loudness’ between art and architecture. And even if we could do that, would we want to set up rules based on those measurements? I’m not sure architecture is ready for that.

  23. Reply
    John Ashworth April 15, 2018

    First of all, I would say that art is a representation of culture. Architecture and artworks (like paintings) are both art, just with different function/intent. Therefore, I would find it silly if our current society wanted to hang its most amazing artworks in the most boring of architectural structures: a white box. Though, that doesn’t mean it should never be done. If the context of the art requires for it to be hung in a white box, then so be it. In general, It would be nice for art and architecture to work complimentary. Though however, if someone made an artwork that’s supposed to be able to support itself, I believe the architecture shouldn’t ever be a necessity for the artwork displayed to be succesful.

  24. Reply
    Timothy White April 16, 2018

    An art museum should be complementary to the art, but not to the point that it becomes utilitarian display space. The Art museum wants to be an expression of the creativity that is taking place within the program. The museum should be combative enough to be a creative expression on its own, but not to the point that is compromises the emphasis that should be placed on the art. Good museum architecture falls at an appropriate place along the dichotomy of Combative and Complementary, The guggenheim Museum in New York provides the White box that is complementary to the programed use of displaying art while the progression of space provides an expression of creativity on its own without distracting from the point of the museum, the art.

  25. Reply
    Riselle Iris Leong April 22, 2018

    In the situation of an art museum, its interior and exterior form and spaces should be in a complementary to the contents it holds in whatever context the contents they are in. Looking at the interior spaces and exterior views of the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan, the museum just as the modern art it holds for contemporary artwork by Hilla Rebay and later artwork to come. Just as the museum held this unique, abstract art that stands so part from the general idea of classic art, the museum in it of itself was a work of art in its more organic form so different from its surround rectangular buildings. Wright had elegantly used steel, glass, and reinforced concrete to create slanted walls in a rotating space so geometric yet almost organic to create a vague foreground with the artwork it holds. Its dynamic design emphasizes the dynamic design of its contemporary contents to show how elegant yet almost otherworldly this place and its treasures hold. Its building’s design creates a fully immersive and fluid experience with the artwork.

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