Richard Armstrong, Redefining Beauty Through Art
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum opened in New York City in 1952, housed in a now iconic building designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Museum director Richard Armstrong discusses the museum’s founding relationship with architecture, its mission to offer visitors a “place for the imagination,” and the role of art in satisfying the human desire to find beauty and order.
On Frank Lloyd Wright’s longstanding impact on the museum: “Because of what Frank Lloyd Wright achieved on Fifth Avenue, [architecture] has become a huge part of the identity of the institution, to its great advantage….[Other museums] can be so dark and foreboding, and I think that people come to [the Guggenheim], and they find it uplifting.”
On the museum’s relationship with patrons: “I really feel like what we offer people is a place for the imagination. And honestly in our society we're a haven for eccentrics, which we accept happily.”
On art’s broader role in today’s culture: “One of our deepest needs is the quest for beauty…There’s always somebody...in our case people who work inside museums, sometimes art advisors, often artists themselves…redefining beauty. And that is a fundamental quest inside human nature.”