Art of this century gallery nyc


Opened October 20, 1942 in a top floor double loft at 30 West 57th Street in New York City, Art of This Century Gallery was founded by Peggy Guggenheim. From the 'famous' Guggenheim famous, she was a prominent art collector firmly entrenched in surrealism and abstraction, who had lived much of her life as an expatriate in France. Forced back to the U.S. by World War II, she established this gallery, which remains a landmark of innovations in American art history, specially credited for exhibitions exclusively devoted to work by American artists. She took great pride in the fact that Jackson Pollock???s career was launched in the Art of the Century Gallery. Dedicated to interactive experiences, it broke down exhibition barriers between high art and popular art, between famous artists and emerging artists, and between ???sophisticated??? art connoisseurs and regular people who just had fun browsing around, enjoying art. It was a marked departure from traditional New York galleries with painting lined walls and reverent, quiet environment directed to ???softening??? wealthy clientele. Part of Guggenheim???s rebellion was locating west of 5th Avenue next door to a corsetiere, rather than east of the Avenue with the established galleries such as Knoedler???s or Durand-Ruel. Frederick Kiesler, a sculptor and architect, did the Art of This Century interior design, which, in itself, was a total work of art. His innovations included the showing of paintings unframed, circulating or sitting of viewers on overstuffed chairs among randomly placed artwork, lighting with fluctuating intensity and changing focus, paintings in racks for quick perusal, and kinetic shows with rapidly alternating works of art. Floors were covered with rich turquoise paint, Guggenheim???s favorite color. From the time of its opening it was a popular success, described by musician John Cage as a ???funhouse??? and by a writer as ???the American artistic event of the century,??? . . .(238) Artists associated with the gallery include Marcel Duchamp, Jimmy Ernst, Andre Breton, Hans Richter, Joseph Cornell, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, Piet Mondrian, Frieda Kahlo, Leonora Carrington, Dorothea Tanning, Mark Rothko, David Hare and Alexander Calder. Finishing with solo exhibitions for Jackson Pollock, Morris Hirshfield, Richard Pousette-Dart, David Hare, and Theodore van Doesburg, the Gallery closed May 31, 1947. Tired of the New York art scene, and having lost money each of the five years of operating Art of This Century, Peggy Guggenheim moved herself and her extensive contemporary art collection permanently to a villa she purchased on the Grand Canal in Venice. There she lived the remaining 32 years of her life, becoming much sought after as one of the leading champions of modern art in Europe and America. Source: Mary Dearborn, Peggy Guggenheim, ???Mistress of Modernism???.