I spent some time in New York city in the late summer of 2005. While there, my partner and I decided we really needed to see The Guggenheim. As I shared in this post, we both have a deep appreciation for Frank Lloyd Wright and we have visited many of his buildings including Taliesin in Wisconsin, Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, and an entire FLW designed subdivision in Kalamazoo Michigan.
One afternoon, we walked across central park and emerged on Fifth Avenue looking at the landmark building. The summer we were there, it was in the middle of a major restoration which took a total of three years to complete.
Of course, as a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright, I love every building that he has designed right down to the inherent flaws. When this building opened, several artists complained that the curved walls were impossible to properly display their work and refused to be in the gallery.
But the building is more than just a gallery. It is a labyrinth. And I encourage all pagan visitors to view it as such and spend time in the spiral immersed in art and architecture. I know many pagans who use labyrinths as a contemplative tool. The idea of a path that curls in on itself and then back out again has been a part of the human condition for generations and examples of labyrinths have been found throughout history and across the globe. There are a few commonly found labyrinths including the Chartres and Classical and I believe that the Guggenheim in New York City holds it’s place with these classics.
In truth, Frank Lloyd Wright is not unlike the mythological character Daedalus, the designer of the labyrinth that imprisoned the minotaur on Crete. He, like FLW, suffered from quite a bit of hubris but both were deeply flawed. This pride is evident in much of FLW’s work and most people either love it or hate it.
When we were there, we took the elevator to the top of the museum and spent our time slowly curling our way down the galleries taking in the art and the design of the building itself. You could even take the journey twice as if it were a Classical labyrinth – start at the bottom and follow the path to the top and come back down again. Spend that time in silence, engaged with the labyrinth and the art it contains.