The Guggenheim Museum
I first visited the Guggenheim Museum two weeks ago with Claus, my friend from Germany. We had the MOMA in mind but I guess talking, talking we must have passed it by. Half an hour from the MOMA we found ourselves in front of the Guggenheim, the astonishing white building that was Frank Lloyd Wright’s last project. Why not? We said to ourselves. And so we walked right in.
According to the pamphlet: “The Guggenheim Museum is an embodiment of Wright’s attempts to render the inherent plasticity of organic forms in architecture. His inverted ziggurat (a stepped or winding pyramidal temple of Babylonian origin) dispenses with the conventional approach to museum design, leading visitors through a series of interconnected rooms and forcing them to retrace their steps when exiting. The galleries are divided like the membranes in citrus fruit, with self-contained yet interdependent sections. The open rotunda affords viewers the unique possibility of seeing several bays of work on different levels simultaneously. The spiral design recalls a nautilus shell, with continuous spaces flowing freely one into another.”
At the coat check, I suddenly remembered my pen.
(Afterwards, Claus because old school would jump ship, for the Guggenheim mostly contained non-objective, therefore abstract art. This thing called art, this thing called art. Is this thing called art because it resists apprehension? Only what is at stake, Claus? If art forsakes literal representation, it is merely to get at the subconscious, at things that cannot otherwise be expressed – surely there is something to be said for that! Still, he said and we let it go.)
Shoulder rub, ticket stub: we were in!
Avant-Garde Art is Borne…
…r je veux pas le juger, I write on the napkin.
This time I want a goodbye. At least a goodbye.
I am thinking back to the day before. I am thinking back to a conversation both of us had right after our visit to the Guggenheim. In this conversation, we are parting ways because I am meeting someone for an appointment I am too civil to turn down. In this conversation Claus is saying he’ll go back and rest, maybe talk to Yoshi. He’s like me, I’m thinking, so goddamn civil. Everyone’s going to end up doing things he doesn’t want to do. Everyone’s going to have his hands full of social acquaintances he doesn’t care for.
So I say, “You don’t have to talk to Yoshi if you don’t want to, you know?”
I don’t remember how or where we are standing anymore. The only thing I remember: his gaze towards me is oblique.
“I’m just making conversation.” He is saying.