Treasure Island

Paul Hartal


Guggenheim


It rises in the heart of Manhattan
like a giant inverted cupcake.
The building,
a circular symphony in concrete,
enfolds as a nautilus shell,
a spiral design
in which continuous spaces
flow freely one into another.

The Guggenheim Museum
of New York opened in 1959,
begirding an immense space.
Frank Lloyd Wright envisioned
it at first as an upside down
Zikkurat.
Its horizontal ribbons
are wider at the top
than at the bottom.

The museum
has no separate floor levels.
Instead it curls like a corkscrew,
a helical ramp of breathing plasticity,
a celebration of structural unity,
a single continuous floor
spiraling upward uninterrupted,
wrapped around an open court.

The paintings on the walls
stare in silence, colored, composed
clemently, or vexed,
versatile icons
in a stunning shrine of spirit
steeping, gurgling, percolating
in the frozen music of architecture.

The structure,
an organic opus
of Wright’s trailblazer design,
harmonizes the building with art
and with the urban environment,
so that interior and exterior merge,
each becomes part of the other,
and thus the outside comes inside
and the inside goes outside.

Submitted: Thursday, March 27, 2014
Edited: Friday, March 28, 2014

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Topic(s): art

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