Comparative Criticism of Two Museums

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Mark Moran Prof. Elizabeth Marlowe Masterpieces of Western Art November 8, 1999 Formal Comparison of Two Museums The Frick Collection and The Guggenheim Museum are both museums on 5th Avenue in New York’s Upper East Side neighborhood, and they are both named for famous American tycoons from the early 20thcentury. But their similarities pretty much end there. The Frick Collection is the former residence of steel baron Henry Clay Frick who spent forty years assembling a large collection of artwork for his personal enjoyment. The Guggenheim Museum, on the other hand, was always intended as a public museum to display various art exhibits. These fundamental differences are most evident in the architectural design of the buildings…show more content…
What is consistent about that Guggenheim’s exhibits is that they are generally modern and challenging, just like the building. The design of the Frick residence is to inspire tranquility. The painting, sculpture, furniture, and pottery range from the Renaissance to the late 19th century, and there are no violent or startling works in the collection. The building’s layout, from the peaceful fountains to the elegant columns and niches all enforce a feeling of serenity inside the building and out in its gardens. The constantly changing Guggenheim strives to do just the opposite. It’s goal is to be thought-provoking and shocking which is emphasized by its strange structure and lack of benches and resting areas, which are abundant in the Frick. Because Frick’s artwork is pre-20thcentury and somewhat traditional by today’s standards, the mansion built to house the works was designed to be as classical as possible. The building itself is a classically inspired artwork. Likewise, the Guggenheim building is an abstract, thought-provoking piece of 20th century artwork. The Guggenheim Museum and the Frick Collection are two of New York’s most famous museums. They have fundamentally different architectural designs, both inside and out, that reflect and enhance the different goals of the museums. And yet, they both interact with their environments in a similar manner. Neither building is a large
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