1956 | New York City

Callous Disregard

An open letter on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim design.

Mr. James Johnson Sweeney, Director, and the Trustees, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Dear Sirs,

The undersigned group of artists have noted that the Guggenheim Museum is in the process of carrying out the construction of a new building which has been designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The drawing and description of its plan that have appeared in the New York papers and other publications make it clear that the interior design of the building is not suitable for a sympathetic display of painting and sculpture.

The basic concept of curvilinear slope for presentation of painting and sculpture indicates a callous disregard for the fundamental rectilinear frame of reference necessary for the adequate visual contemplation of works of art.

We strongly urge the Trustees of the Guggenheim Museum to reconsider the plans for the new building.

Yours truly,

Calvin Albert
Milton Avery
Will Barnet
Paul Bodin
Henry Botkin
Byron Browne
Herman Cherry
George Constant
Willem de Kooning
Herbert Ferber
Adolph Gottlieb
Philip Guston
Franz Kline
Seymour Lipton
Sally Michel
George L. K. Morris
Robert Motherwell
Charles Schucker
John Sennhauser
Leon P. Smith
Jack Tworkov

About This Text

From an open letter. Despite the protests lodged by the undersigned, construction of Wright’s design was completed in the fall of 1959, six months after the architect died at the age of ninety-one.