For Its 60th Birthday, the Guggenheim Opens Its Doors 7 Days a Week and Launches “Silent Nights”

For Its 60th Birthday, the Guggenheim Opens Its Doors 7 Days a Week and Launches “Silent Nights”

The Guggenheim Museum is kicking off the new year by opening its doors on Thursdays throughout 2019, giving would-be visitors an extra day to tour the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed masterpiece and see the artwork that resides in its spiral, cream-colored halls.

The decision, announced by museum director Richard Armstrong, is intended to be a year-long celebration of the museum’s 60th anniversary. Curators have also developed “Silent Nights,” a recurring Tuesday event in which patrons are invited to quietly reflect on the museum’s collection. Armstrong described the theme as “a contemplative experience in our temple of spirit, a perfect respite in the city that never sleeps,” in an email blast sent Tuesday.

The changes come as the museum gears up for its 2019 shows. On January 25, the Guggenheim will open its year-long exhibition of the work of Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) with a presentation of rarely seen photographs, mixed-media constructions, Polaroids and collages. The New York artist cultivated a reputation for striking self-portraits and shocking, highly stylized images that often depicted his friends and fellow artists. His black-and-white photographs depicting sexual fetishes caused a maelstrom of controversy and, subsequently, a debate over censorship that still lingers today.

Robert Mapplethorpe’s 1976 photograph of Patti Smith. Image courtesy the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Gift, The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

A second phase of the show kicks off July 24 and involves contemporary artists providing their own interpretations of Mapplethorpe’s legacy. Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Lyle Ashton Harris, Glenn Ligon, Catherine Opie and Paul Mpagi Sepuya have all been invited to show work as part of the presentation.

Exhibitions held later in 2019:

Hugo Boss Prize 2018: Simone Leigh
April 19–August 4, 2019
A solo exhibition of work by Simone Leigh, the recipient of the museum’s 2018 Hugo Boss Prize, will open this spring. The museum’s biennial award honors contemporary artists for groundbreaking work in their respective fields.

Artistic License: Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection
May 24, 2019–January 12, 2020
The museum will host its first artist-curated exhibition. Cai Guo-Qiang, Paul Chan, Jenny Holzer, Julie Mehretu, Richard Prince and Carrie Mae Weems will be selecting highlights from the museum’s permanent collection and provide interpretations of their favorite pieces.

Basquiat’s “Defacement”: The Untold Story
June 21–November 6, 2019

Narrowly focused on Jean-Michel Basquiat’s marker-on-wood piece “Defacement,” this exhibition is intended to explore cultural activism in New York City during the early 1980s. Basquiat created “Defacement” following the death of black artist Michael Stewart, who was killed by transit police while at an East Village subway station.

For museum opening hours, head to the Guggenheim’s website.



Top Image: Courtesy of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York