Guggenheim as a Club

A two-for-one Friday night will satisfy your clubbing and art craves—or at least the Guggenheim Museum in NYC attempts to do so one Friday night a month. This past Friday there was blaring music, people dressed to the nines, and The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia. How could this great combination go wrong?

  • By being a well-lit, lame music club experience with only sporadic fits of dancing
  • By displaying an underwhelming exhibition

The crowded atrium was filled with people pushing to get to the round bar in the center, a space that should have been left open for dancing. It was as bright as day, which hardly lowers people’s dancing exhibition. In addition, the Guggenheim, unlike the Museum of Natural History, didn’t hire a good DJ. Pure 80s cheese could have topped their mediocre mix and been much more fun. That said, there were drinks and not a few people were inspired to bust a move from time to time. It had the potential to be a great party but couldn’t live up to it.

Many of the pieces in the Chinese-influences on American Modernism show required more thought than the drinks inspired. The opening piece when you first ascend the ramp is stunning, a huge room of gold flaky paint called The Death of James Lee Byars. Continuing on, Minimalist canvases of white and stripes required a more subdued attention. I would have appreciated more information on the selected works, and the connection to Asian art.

Despite being one of many museums in New York City that offer late Friday nights, with drinks and dancing, the Guggenheim still has no problem filling Wright’s impressive interior spiral, and the mix of people (and outfits!) was a joy to behold. On the other hand, for $25 dollars you could go to a real club. For nothing, you can go to most major New York City museums, as they have sponsored free or pay-what-you-wish Friday nights.

Am I glad I went? Yes. Would I go again? No, not without a specific reason.

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