Top Ten Things Not to Do Attending the Opening of the Guggenheim Museum in 1959

 

The Guggenheim Museum under construction in 1958 with James’s 1956 Oldsmobile out front proving we were there.

This week marks the 61st anniversary of the opening of the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1959. You know we all have to go there to be part of that historic event. We need to take a list of things ‘not to do’ to prevent any accidental tear in the time continuum. So hop aboard the 1956 Oldsmobile, and let’s go.

The Olds from Eternal Road. A few days left at 99¢on Amazon. Click the car to go there. Come right back though.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Opening of the Guggenheim Museum in 1959.

10 If you go with us, do not make jokes about the appearance of the building. If you do, at best, everyone will be too busy to hear from you. At worst, you’ll make a joke overheard by James Johnson Sweeney, the museum’s director. (Mr. Sweeney takes great exception to your joke, Meinrad. He now wants to give you the whole history of the building and its architect Frank Loyd Wright. This is going to be a long day.)

9 If you go with us, do not ignore Tiny’s directions, the WWF champ who has been appointed a temporary guard for the Chagall exhibit. If you do, at best, Tiny will be busy with other guests. At worst, Tiny will assume you do not recognize his authority. (After all, Meir, he told you to stand behind the white tape, and clearly, your foot is two inches over. Tiny has missed the last month of his court-ordered anger management sessions. I know that hold hurts, but I don’t think your head will pop like a melon. I must say your face is sure red.)

8 If you go with us, do not complain about the layout of the museum. If you do, at best, everyone is too busy looking at the art. At worse, Sweeny will be standing behind you. ( If it helps, Melenthius, before the museum opened, 21 artists signed a letter complaining about how the walls and niches were designed and protested displaying their work there. Of course, Sweeney ignored them just like he is ignoring you. Well, except for the big burly guard helping you to the exit.)

7 If you go with us, don’t complain about the 50¢ entrance fee. If you do, at best, the box office personnel will be busy. At worst, you’ll be told to come back on Saturday when the museum entrance is free. (The 50¢ seems like a bargain, Melbourne, even if 50¢ in 1959 would be a little over $4.50 today. It may surprise you to know the fee today is $25.00 for admission for an adult. Saturday is still free from 5:00 to 8:00 P.M.)

6 If you go with us, do not try to push to the head of the line. If you do, at best, you’ll get lost. At worst, since several folks have been in line for a while, you’ll meet some short tempers. (On opening day, Melbyrne 3000 people showed up. You better believe some of them will not take kindly to your attempt to jump ahead of them.)

5 If you go with us and don’t like the building, do not facetiously ask James Johnson Sweeney if Frank Loyd Wright did any architectural drawings. If you do, at best, he will be busy dealing with the crowd. At worst, he will advise you that indeed Frank Loyd Wright did over 700 drawings. (I think Sweeney has about had it with you, Meldrick. I see him with two huge guys motioning toward you and drawing his thumb across his throat. Not a sign we like to see.)

4 If you go with us, do not ask for directions to the restaurant. If you do, at best, the person you ask will probably be confused. At worst, you will tip off the fact that you are not from this time zone. (You almost blew it, Melville. The restaurant in the Guggenheim did not open until 1975. No harm is done. The person directed you to the restaurant down the street.)

3 If you go with us, do not take bets about the distance of the walk from the ground floor to the top of the display space. If you do, at best, people will think you are joking. At worst, someone will take the bet. (The person taking the bet, Melvyn, is the guy who cleans the gallery. He correctly identified the distance as  1,416 feet. Hope you don’t intend to write a check to cover your debt.)

2 If you go with us, do not touch any of the paintings. If you do, at best, no one will see you. At worst, you will be seen by the biggest guard. (Everyone knows you don’t touch the paintings, Menelaus. I know it is irresistible sometimes, but after all, unless you want to pay $24 million or so, no touch.)

1 If you go with us, Do not ask to meet the benefactor Solomon R. Guggenheim. If you do, at best, you’ll get a blank stare. At worst, you’ll ask a Guggenheim family member. (You have to be the biggest clod; Mercer. Solomon passed away ten years before the Museum opened. Although it was his dream, he didn’t live to see it come to reality. Go sit in the corner.)

93 comments

  1. “Go sit in the corner.” 😁 Perfect line, John. You’ve taught me a lot about the Guggenheim today. I wish the entrance fee was still just 50 cents, I’d visit more often for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the $25.00 is a big hit to the wallet for sure. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You know someone will break #2. Always one person with roaming hands.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For 50 cents, I can refrain from pushing and touching. Thanks for the ride, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great price for sure. I don’t know how it got to $25.00. Thanks, Jill

      Like

  4. Guess I’m staying in my LazyBoy! ‘Gug’ comes for visits, and I can’t get a word in edgewise! #2, for sure! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A very talkative guy for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Last three are turbo ones, dear John! Poor guy… You say he passed away long before the museum opening? I wonder ….if he had been contented with it…😁🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hard to know. I think he would have liked it since he appointed Frank Loyd Wright as the architect. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🤣🤣😒 Well…a plan & a practical result often are so different 🙂 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes that is true. It is too bad that he couldn’t see his dream fulfilled.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ll pass on this visit – COVID rules prevent international travel, but I wish you well.
    So long, John
    So long, 1956 Oldsmobile and, of course,
    So long, Frank Lloyd Wright

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So long. (Very clever riff, Keith)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “But Mr. Tiny, sir, I only stepped over the line because I thought you dropped this twenty-dollar bill.”

    That almost worked until Tiny noticed the signature. Fortunately, he thought it was counterfeit. At least I think that’s what he said as he shoved in in my mouth.

    Good job, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha. You and Tiny are starting to build a relationship. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure it’s a healthy one for me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahaha, You are probably right.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Very interesting! Particuarly the bit about the artists who didn’t want their work displayed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They thought the building was not conducive to art displays. Thanks, Liz.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Couldn’t think outside the box, eh?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Or inside the ice cream cone.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. It is an odd structure, the way it tools up like a giant castle. I guess back then artists were just used to what was more traditional.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I expect you’re right.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Just my 2 cents. John penned it so beautifully. I actually went out to look at it…stood across Fifth. It’s its own force of nature, like a big hat with people coming in and out of it.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I’ve never seen it in person. It sounds like one of those places everyone should see at least once.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Yes, since it rivals no other. The Met and Moma look like prisons in comparison, just with banners in front.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Can I ask Tiny if the designer got the inspiration from a Romulan mothership?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’ll have to be careful. Tiny may not know about Romulans and will then become upset that he can’t answer the question. When upset Tiny goes back to what he knows best violent body slams.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. How can I sit in the corner when there isn’t one? Oh, put my nose in that little circle and stand there? Fine.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There is a corner in the elevator. Your solution works too. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Loved this, John. We were able to see the Guggenheim in Venice. On a much different scale although quite interesting. I think our admission fee was about the same. Of course, we all know Venice is sinking and we may never travel again so lucky we saw it when we did.

    Like

    1. I would say so. Venice has been on my list but don’t know if I will get there. Thanks, Maggie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am afraid there are a lot of places I won’t get to see now.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is so true, Maggie.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I could live with that 50 cent entrance fee.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That $25.00 is pretty steep.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’d sure love touring a Wright-designed building — and 50 cents is a bargain! Sad that Mr. G. didn’t live long enough to see his dream come true though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes it is. His money was there though. Thanks, Debbie

      Liked by 1 person

    2. This is true, going down on the Titanic taking over J.P Morgan’s State Room who stayed in Italy with his mistress. Talk about making a deadly decision. He was the Big Daddy of the Guggy family so, I’m assuming he had his hands all over the museum that still bears his name.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. First of all, the Olds is my fav. And its super hard not to touch! Always has been but I don’t. 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    1. good for you, Audey. 😁

      Like

  15. $24 million? No problem, I can write a check. I always enjoy these rides in your Olds, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lauren. Me too

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If it were just about writing a check…sigh…🙄

        Liked by 1 person

  16. My how times have changed! I love the photo with the Olds in front of the museum! What a difference between 50 cents back then and today. Today, 50 cents will get you NOTHING! 🙂 Good one, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jan. Yes, you are right. $4.50 gets you a small Starbucks.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I live a couple of blocks away, and it’s never been my favorite museum, though the lines snake around the block. After seeing the Ken Burns’s film on Frank Lloyd Wright, I didn’t like him very much, and his story, parts of it anyway, are very unpleasant.

    As for Tiny, I always appreciate how he never gives up, but his ego should be willed to Science.

    25 bucks to get in. On Fridays, after 8, it’s free, but you almost have to spend the night in the Park across the street, to get in.

    I love all the research you do. It’s admirable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sussanah.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really liked what you wrote. You make it so interesting. I’ll bet a ton of your readers have become history lovers.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The Top Ten feature gets excellent views each week. I would assume folks learn a little and are entertained a little. It would be nice if they learned to love history. Thanks you for the lovely compliment, Susannah. 😁

        Like

  18. I have heard that it is considered very bad form to yell ‘fore’ and roll a bowling ball down from the top of the ramp. It can earn one the view from the center of the atrium.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes your view might be on the end of a rope.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I’ll make sure to follow all the rules… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay. I won’t have to watch you then.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I promise… I’ll behave.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “Oh behave.”

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hahaha!!

        Liked by 1 person

  20. D.L. Finn, Author · · Reply

    I didn’t know much about this. Fun way to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you liked it, Denise.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Funny, especially #1!!

    Like

    1. Thank you, Resa.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Wow, 50 cents? How things have changed. A nice and humorous homage to this museum!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Noelle. 😁

      Like

  23. Geez, that Mr Sweeney has no sense of humour.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No he does not. He and Frank did not get along either.

      Like

  24. Whatever you do, don’t call it the “Gagenheim” in front of Tiny. He might not approve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He also may think you are asking for some physical action and he may reply, “Gag who?”

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I would love to see this museum, for the art and also the Frank Lloyd Wright design. If the initial artists signed a petition complaining about displaying their art, that sounds like Wright and his space conservation. This must have been a sore spot with Sweeney, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it was. Sweeney and Wright did not get along. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Thank you for the trip back in time. It was enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it Molly Shea. I used to live in the Middlebury and South Bend area of Indiana.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know the area well. We always visit middleberry when we go north. South Bend also has some interesting places to visit.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I woner if the Middleberry Creamery is still there?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m sure it is.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. Did no one ask Sweeney why he did not put the pictures up online?

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Okay, I’ll admit it. This is the one subject I knew nothing about. Now I know everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Andrew.

      Like

  29. I always thought they should design a mall the way they designed this place. Start at the top and work your way to the bottom.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I thought so. But now that malls are on their way out, I guess the Guggenheim is safe . . .

        Liked by 1 person

  30. Paula R.C. Readman · · Reply

    Thank you. I’m hoping to time travel 🧭 🧳 soon. These tips will help me blend in 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, they will Paula. Thank you for the visit. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

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