The Guggenheim turns 50, opens the museum for free with special exhibits

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The Empire State Building in New York City will be lit red in honor of the New York Guggenheim Museum's 50th birthday on October 21. Throughout October the building's lobby windows will display objects from the Guggenheim.

The Guggenheim opens the museum free-of-charge on the anniversary of its opening day 50 years ago. Several events scheduled for the day mark the celebration including a new Anish Kapoor installation and a documentary in each of the Guggenheim museums.

Art, Architecture, and Innovation: Celebrating the Guggenheim Museum, a documentary film on the history of the Guggenheim building, collections, and development with archival materials, and talks with the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The 27-minute film will be screened at all the Guggenheim museums in Manhattan, Bilbao, Berlin, Venice, and part of a 50th anniversary special exhibition program in Abu Dhabi.

Also unveiled is a major site-specific sculptural installation by international artist Anish Kapoor, Memory, weighing 24 tons, on view October 21, 2009 - March 28, 2010. The work, commissioned by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Deutsche Bank, features a rusty Cor-Ten thin steel skin with a square aperture in one of the gallery's walls -- allowing a view into the elliptical shaped sculpture's interior void -- a process the Mumbai-born London-based artist describes as creating a "mental sculpture."

Also, currently, a retrospective of Vasily Kandisky is on exhibit until January 13, 2010, featuring an extensive collection of the items that are part of the show.
At 4:30 pm ET on October 21, the Guggenheim hosts a live Twitter tour of the museum with posted thoughts and observations from followers during a live-tweet conversation. The #GUGG50 code must be included in posts at

Also, next week on October 29, the Guggenheim inaugurates Rob Pruitt's The First Annual Art Awards. In the format of a Hollywood awards ceremony at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the show celebrates select individuals, exhibitions, and projects that made an impact on the field of contemporary art over the last year.

Winners in 11 categories will be announced during a dinner at the Guggenheim, including Best Artist, Best Curator, Best Exhibit Outside the US with nominees such as the Jeffrey Koons exhibit in Versailles and Francis Bacon at the Tate Modern in London.