577: What colour were we again? / Manchester art therapy: don't worry, be happy (Friday 23 November 2007)

compiled by Marthe Leach

Guggenheim color wars

View from the top of the Guggenheim. Image held here

In a landslide 7-to-2 vote, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission voted in favor of maintaining the light grey façade of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.  Frank Lloyd Wright’s design, originally painted a shade of light yellow, has undergone many colour changes since first being built in 1959.  As part of the $29 million renovation of the building, eleven layers of paint were stripped away, including the original light yellow that many people had forgotten about.

The two dissenters to the light-grey vote felt that Wright’s vision should be maintained, including the color he chose. Pablo E Vengoechea, an architect and urban designer who voted against the light grey, said, “I’ve heard arguments that the lighter color is less jarring, less controversial and so forth, but I think that that really doesn’t persuade...This building was designed to stand out.”  The other lobbyist in the light-yellow campaign cites a chemical analysis of the original yellow colour, saying that it used to be much bolder and the color became lighter over time.  Although the debate over the exact shade of yellow continues - and one must wonder why no one bothered to find a photograph of the original color - the vote is final and the Guggenheim will re main the shade of light grey that it has become known for.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/21/arts/design/21gugg.html

Museum therapy

In a world where many people fill their lunch hour with on-the-go sandwiches, errands, and hurried haircuts, rather than an actual sit-down meal, the average nine-to-fiver might find themselves a little stressed out.  While ‘art therepy’ is a fairly well known relaxation technique, Manchester Art Gallery has decided to take it one step further.  Dr Olga Gregson and Professor Terry Looker from the Department of Biological Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University - both experts on stress management, physiology and health - have teamed up with Manchester Art Gallery to put together a lunchtime tour of the gallery’s most relaxing works, geared towards working professionals: ‘museum therapy’.  Gregson and Looker have used their expertise to select the paintings that will get a visitor the most amount of relaxation in the shortest amount of time.  These sele ctions include The Waters of Lethe by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope, Thomson's Aeolian Harp by Turner and Summer in Cumberland by James Durden.  A visitor can get in, relax, and get out, all in the time it would have taken to have a calm, sit-down meal.