Guggenheim to host its first artist-curated exhibition


The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, one of New York’s most distinctive buildings and most-visited attractions. Photo © The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York

NEW YORK – The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents Artistic License: Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection, the first artist-curated exhibition ever mounted at the museum. On view from May 24, 2019, through January 12, 2020, this full-rotunda presentation celebrates the Guggenheim’s extensive collection of 20th-century modern and contemporary artworks, with an exhibition selected by six contemporary artists, all of whom have contributed to shaping the Guggenheim’s history with their own pivotal solo shows.

Curated by Cai Guo-Qiang, Paul Chan, Jenny Holzer, Julie Mehretu, Richard Prince, and Carrie Mae Weems, the presentation brings together collection highlights and rarely seen works from the turn of the century to 1980. On view during the 60th anniversary of the Guggenheim’s iconic Frank Lloyd Wright–designed building, Artistic License honors the museum’s artist-centric ethos and commitment to art as a force for upending expectations and expanding perspectives. This exhibition offers a critical examination of the Guggenheim’s collection on the occasion of a significant milestone in its history.

Artistic License is organized with the artists by Nancy Spector, Artistic Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator; supported by Ylinka Barotto, Assistant Curator; with Tracey Bashkoff, Director of Collections and Senior Curator; and Joan Young, Director, Curatorial Affairs.

Creating unique and timely dialogues with the Guggenheim’s history—and with the broader history of modern and contemporary art—the six artist-curators each interpret the collection through their own individual perspectives. Working with the museum’s curators and conservators, they have probed the Guggenheim collection in storage, encountering renowned artworks while also bringing to light singular contributions by lesser-known artists. Artistic License presents nearly 300 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and installations, some never before exhibited, that engage with the cultural discourses of their time—from the utopian aspirations of early modernism to the formal explorations of mid-century abstraction to the sociopolitical debates of the 1960s and ’70s.

Drawing on their own practices, influences, and concerns, each of the artist-curators has selected thematically, conceptually, or formally relevant artworks to populate one of the six ramps in the museum’s rotunda, creating markedly distinctive sections and new readings of the collection. As a whole, the exhibition provides an opportunity to reflect on the museum’s own history, challenge accepted understandings of twentieth-century art, and reveal eclectic, even eccentric, comparisons and juxtapositions.


Guggenheim Tuesdays: Conversation 
Reflections on Artistic License
Select Tuesdays, 6:30 pm 

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Peter B. Lewis Theater 
In this series of conversations organized by Nancy Spector, Artistic Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, each of the six artist-curators of Artistic License—Cai Guo-Qiang, Paul Chan, Jenny Holzer, Julie Mehretu, Richard Prince, and Carrie Mae Weems—reflects on their interpretations of the collection and the themes that informed their curatorial selections.

June 18: Cai Guo-Qiang
July 30: Jenny Holzer
September 24: Julie Mehretu
October 8: Paul Chan
November 19: Carrie Mae Weems
December 17: Richard Prince

$25, $20 members, $18 students. Ticket includes same-day museum admission and admission to extended hours on Guggenheim Tuesdays Program subject to change. For more information and tickets, visit


Artistic License: Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection is made possible by Lavazza.

Major support is provided by Bank of America.

Support is also provided by The Kate Cassidy Foundation.

The Leadership Committee for Artistic License: Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection is gratefully acknowledged for its support, with special thanks to Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson; Larry Gagosian; Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte; Marian Goodman Gallery; Nahmad Contemporary; Peter Bentley Brandt; Oded Halahmy Foundation for the Arts, Inc.; Hauser & Wirth; Allison and Neil Rubler; and those who wish to remain anonymous.

Additional funding is provided by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Collections Council.


The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was established in 1937 and is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The Guggenheim international constellation of museums includes the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; and the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. In 2019, the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum celebrates 60 years as an architectural icon and “temple of spirit” where radical art and architecture meet. To learn more about the museum and the Guggenheim’s activities around the world, visit


Admission: Adults $25, students/seniors (65+) $18, members and children under 12 free. Listen to each artist-curator talk about their selections on the museum digital guide or at

Museum Hours: Open daily 10 am–5:30 pm, Tuesdays and Saturdays extended hours until 8 pm. On Saturdays, beginning at 5 pm, the museum hosts Pay What You Wish. For general information, call 212 423 3500 or visit

#   #   #