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guggenheim secrets .org 3 -NYC-Untapped CitiesImage via guggenheim.org

Few buildings in New York City strike a more iconic silhouette than the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. A concrete spiral and one of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright‘s most notable creations, the museum sees just as many visitors seeking to appreciate its architecture as it does visitors coming for the art. Built in 1959, the story of its conception and construction married Wright’s avant-garde design instinct with Solomon R. Guggenheim’s taste for art that pushed boundaries. The building, which was renovated in full in 2005, is one of the most popular destinations in the city’s art scene even eighty years after its opening day. Here are the top 10 secrets we found about the place.

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frank-lloyd-wright-guggenheim-museum-nyc-original-001The Guggenheim’s original four story tower built by Frank Llloyd Wright’s son-in-law, William Wesley Peters. Image via Guggenheim

In a city where nothing is sacred and almost every architectural landmark is liable for an overhaul (take 5 Pointz for instance), it may come as no surprise that many of NYC’s most famous museums had also undergone many drastic changes over the years.  Just how drastic some of those changes were may shock you though. We’ve mentioned in the past how you used to be able to drive up to front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (in an era when most people didn’t have cars yet no less), but now we’re going to provide you with this list of photos portraying the original incarnations of NYC’s most famous museums.

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The Illuminator calls the Guggenheim Museum a “1% Museum.” Another projected messages: “Art is not a Luxury.” 

The spirit of Occupy Wall Street lives on as The Illuminator political art project roams New York City projecting guerrilla protest messages onto buildings. Using a plain white van equipped with audio and visual projection, as well as an info-shop and mini library, the group of eight artists display a Bat-signal spotlight with a location-specific message. In March, the above message was among those displayed on the 88th Street Guggenheim Museum as a protest to the Guggenheim Foundation’s treatment of migrant workers in Abu Dhabi, where their newest museum is currently being built. (more…)

Guggenheim-under-construction-nycThe Guggenheim Museum under construction, via LOC.gov

Museums are lightning rods for criticism. The most public of all buildings, they’re also the most vulnerable, and even long-accepted classics faced scorn in their infancy. Today we’re taking a look at vintage photographs of New York City’s famous museums while under construction. It’s hard to believe now, but Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum endured fusillades of derision. Before it was finished in 1962 (six months after Wright’s death), it was called “the building that should be put in a museum to show how mad the 20th Century is.”

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Image via New Museum

Here are our top picks for events in NYC this week!

Tuesday, January 21: “Looking Back and Looking Ahead: Preservation Progress in the Village, East Village, and NoHo 2003-2013, and the Road Ahead” is a presentation at the Church of the Village by Executive Director Andrew Berman of The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Presentation. In the presentation, Berman will take a look at development and historical preservation the GVSHP has been involved with during the past ten years. The presentation will also delve into “the newest threats looming on the horizon.”

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Continuing up Fifth Avenue from where the previous installment of Don’t Forget to Look Up ended, this stretch along the upper half of Central Park is known as Museum Mile, and it is indeed home to an abundance of august institutions, starting with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and ending with the Museum for African Art at Central Park’s northeast corner. Trying to take in all of this cultural treasure trove might be overwhelming, but we’ll stick to what we can see from Fifth Avenue–which is still quite a bit!

The-Met-NY-Untapped-Cities-Alexandra-Hay.jpgThe Metropolitan Museum of Art

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