The visually arresting exterior of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum makes it one of New York City's most recognizable buildings. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and has been open since 1959. One of the ways in which the Guggenheim is unique is that the museum itself is just as much an important piece of artwork as many of the paintings that are on display. Its proximity to Central Park offers visitors a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, and this proximity to nature also helped Wright to design his attempt to render the inherent plasticity of organic forms in architecture.
To enjoy the museum, visitors can take an elevator to the top floor and work their way down the gradually sloped winding pathway until they reach the bottom floor. The center of the museum is a large open space in which works are sometimes suspended, especially during special exhibitions. One notable example of this was the Maurizio Cattelan retrospective hosted in 2011, in which lifelike and stuffed animals were suspended from the ceiling at all levels of the museum. This somewhat controversial artist is typical of the Guggenheim, which focuses on works from the 20th and 21st centuries. However, there are also some paintings from earlier eras that help make up part of the permanent collection. The Guggenheim collection predates its current building, and many works were acquired as far back as the 1930s when Solomon Guggenheim hosted the museum in his apartment. Examples of this include works by Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, Paul Gaugin, Claude Monet, and Edouard Manet.
The museum is open every day except Thursdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Tickets for adults are $18, and children under 12 are admitted free of charge.