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Personalities, Politics Art and Design, The UX Remix of the Guggenheim Museum. Big Design 2015

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The Guggenheim Museum story takes many fascinating twists and turns from it’s humble origins as a small, focused collection in a New York City apartment to it’s current iteration as a diverse global art institution that oversees one of the preeminent modern art collections of the world. In this talk we will look at decisions, characters, problems and evolution points in the museum’s history that have parallels to, and contain lessons for, the practice of modern day user experience.

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Personalities, Politics Art and Design, The UX Remix of the Guggenheim Museum. Big Design 2015

  1. 1. This is a talk about what Art and Museum Spaces can teach us about User Experience and Interface design. Museums in particular are good places to examine because, unlike other architecture, Museums are in the business of displaying content, providing metadata and creating environments to navigate through, in order to provide an experience. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  2. 2. The Guggenheim makes for a nice framework for all of this. First, because there are architectural decisions that were made in the guggenheim that had never been made before (and many which have not been made since) and second, as an organization, it was created and has operated an awful lot like a start up. This is also a personal story for me. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  3. 3. I’m president and owner of Exploded Map. I’m mostly a “UX team of one” enterprise but I do build out larger teams on occasion for larger more complex projects. I live and work in Brooklyn NY and you can follow me on the twitters at @jaredac Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  4. 4. I went to computer camp in 1983 where I programmed my first piece of software on a Texas Instruments TRS-80. Then I became a teenager and got myself into lots of teenage trouble which landed me Here … (Next Slide) Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  5. 5. Storm King Mountain is known for a few things … 1. The school I went to 2. The New York Military Academy was right down the street 3. This place (Next Slide) Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  6. 6. This is the Storm King Arts Center. It’s a sculpture park on the mountain. This place fascinated me. I came to this place with a well formed idea of what a museum was and this place destroyed that. There is a radical relationship between content and interface here because the “UI” shapes the “content” as much as the content shapes the UI and the way we, as users engage both, is deeply affected by this interplay. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  7. 7. Menashe Kadishman “Suspended” 1977 Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  8. 8. Menashe Kadishman again - Sense of scale to the space These artists know what they are doing and they understand the environment they are working in. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  9. 9. Maya Lin – Wavefield At this point we’ve totally broken down the idea of an interface. The interface IS the content. The only way to experience it is to actively walk on it and be in and of it. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  10. 10. Alyson Shotz – Mirror Fence This one interesting because in addition to reflecting the interface in the content, the user experiences a reflection of himself as well. Content/ Interface/User … All one thing. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  11. 11. I become very interested in this stuff and go to college to study Art History. (Yes that’s me) Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  12. 12. I focus on Museology What does it mean to be a museum? What is the role of a Museum in Society? What are the Ethics of running a museum? How does the art in a museum affect the context of the space that contains it? Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  13. 13. Museums are not the hallow, sacred institutions we are taught. They are political organizations with agendas just like anything else. The Louvre is intentionally designed so that you find the French Painters very easily. It has a secret a nationalistic agenda. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  14. 14. Wassily Kandisnksy. Black Lines 1913 This is the art that sets context for the Guggenheim. Paintings like this are grounded on a school of mysticism called “Theosophy”. Theosophy: espouses that color line and form have properties that will resonate your soul in and affect your spirit in specific ways. Art is no longer just something to be engaged and contemplated by the user, it’s actually something that has properties of it’s own that push outwardly and affect who we are and our relationship to the world. Art has a sense of Agency imbued by it’s creator. This is some heavy duty thinking for the early 20th century. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  15. 15. This is sort of the basic supposition of experience and Interaction design. As UX designers, we work in this middle space Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  16. 16. This is what that model looks like when we apply the content layer to it Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  17. 17. This is the same thing with museums Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  18. 18. More recent thinking says this is more like it. Peter Paul Veerbeck. Phenomenology / Mediation Theory. There is interplay between all of these things. Experiences are created when humans interact with devices and that interaction shapes who we are. The things we interact with mediate our relationship with the world. Interaction design is designing humans’ world view. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  19. 19. Kandisky though the same thing. He wanted the experience of looking at his art shape us as people and for us to take that into the world and make it a better place Very romantic Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  20. 20. Composition 8 1923 This is more typical of Kandinsky’s work It’s very important to understand this work in order to understand how we got to the final form of the museum Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  21. 21. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  22. 22. There IS NO Guggenheim without Hilla Salomon is just the money man. Hilla is the visionary. Total Badass Deeply enmeshed in art-scene in Germany. Meets Guggenheim in 1927 on one of his trips to Europe. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  23. 23. She gets Gugg to but some non-objective art He moves her to NYC She builds alliances in NY She does grassroots PR and outreach Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  24. 24. She is an artist in her own right. Here she is on the cover of Der Sturm. Major German Art Magazine of the day. No Joke. Very impressive for anyone. Extremely active time in the Art World. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  25. 25. Portrait commissioned by Solomon. It’s pretty bad. But he dug it and they got close. She convinces him to start buying Non-Objective Art Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  26. 26. They start storing the art in a suite at the Plaza, eventually across several suites. Hilla starts inviting members of the local NYC arts scene to check it out. This is the MVP launch. Inviting tastemakers and early adopters to get the word out. Holding latter day Meetups where she gave talks on Non-Objective paintings and Holding open critique nights where artists could bring their work. She then takes the collection out on tour, exhibiting at museums and galleries to up the profile of the collection. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  27. 27. 24 East 54th Street This is after Kandinsky’s death in 1944. This exhibit was a huge tour around the US. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  28. 28. Rebay is kind of a wonky exhibit designer. Fabric Walls, Hulking frames, Art hung very low. Gugg plans to die, donate money and have his own wing at the Metropolitan Museum of art. Reba says “Not thinking big enough baby” Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  29. 29. Rebay pulls a Sean Parker Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  30. 30. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  31. 31. Gugg buys it. They start a foundation. And search for a location (here). Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  32. 32. Wright actually isn’t her first choice. She thinks he’s dead (Dude was old) 
 Immediately has some radical ideas about art that go totally against the conventional wisdom of the day for Museum Curation. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  33. 33. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  34. 34. This is the prevailing wisdom. Blank walls. Flat Florescent lighting. Nothing to distract from the purity of the viewing experience. Wright thinks this sucks. You walk into a space like this and you KNOW there is an agenda and an information architecture but neither is clear. Wright believes spaces should be sympathetic to their surroundings and their purpose. This is very unsympathetic. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  35. 35. Wright want’s to innovate and starts asking the big questions. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  36. 36. Visual Sympatico Between Wright and Kandinsky Left is Kandinsky Composition No. 8 Right is a textile FLW designed for a house Could be brother artists Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  37. 37. FLW totally gets this. He knows he is designing a cohesive environment that is sympathetic to the content and to the user. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  38. 38. Some interesting solutions. Walls are set at 15 degrees (angle of an artist’s easel) Gets viewer in touch with the creator Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  39. 39. Space is meant to guide the user up to the heavens in a gentle, effortless slope Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  40. 40. Ability to look across the rotunda was like hyperlinking content. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  41. 41. Story about Color. Wright wants is really gunning for Red. Rebay says No way.
 
 Red=bad things in Theosophy… Suggests Green or Yellow. Thought Forms: Annie Beast and C.W. Leadbeater http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/16269 Free download. Has the color plates with what all of the colors mean Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  42. 42. Here is where they end up. Kind of a slightly brownish tan. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  43. 43. ’46 Gugg puts everything on hold because the “post war climate + Currency Devaluation” makes building too risky. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  44. 44. ’47 -48 Sketch after Sketch after Sketch after Sketch. He’s in Wireframing HELL ’49 Gugg Dies. Rebay looses all power. Foundation nearly kills the whole project ’52 Rebay resigns Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  45. 45. Installs This guy. (James Sweeney) Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  46. 46. He’s a Curator at MoMa. Very safe choice. Like Scully taking over for Jobs at Apple in the 90’s Hates the spiral. Starts fighting with Wright. Insists on Whitewashing the interior. Wright calls him “Johnson & Johnson Sweeney” (because of his affinity for sterile spaces) Ground doesn’t get broken until 1956. Artists freak out when the spiral plans are made public. They write a protest letter. Wright sends a FU telegram to Sweeney because he’s sure he coordinated it. Wright doesn’t care about the artists because he knows who the customers are. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  47. 47. Sweeny uses the existing space on 54th street and does what he knows. Whitewash the interior. Takes out the frames (probably a good idea) Raises the art to eye level (Also a good idea) But … boring. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  48. 48. FLW Dies before the building is complete The people freaking love it. Critics not so much Sweeny makes some weird decisions. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  49. 49. Sweeney has decided to totally whitewash the interior after all. He doesn’t like the angled walls and he creates a hack. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  50. 50. See the shadow? Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  51. 51. He props the paintings so the float in space Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  52. 52. The critics this this is absurd. Another View Damning Critique Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  53. 53. The space is kind of perfect for Kandinsky and Bauer and Even Mondrian Who also based his work largely on Theosophy. But problems begin to emerge as the art world moves on. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  54. 54. Abby is talking about taxonomy but taxonomy on the web is also often how you navigate digital spaces. FLW has made a physical space and this thinking applies. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  55. 55. This space is very flexibly but unclear and ambiguous. Clarity has been sacrificed and it definitely isn’t sympathetic. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  56. 56. FLW has made a physical space that is specific, clear and sympathetic, but pretty inflexible. Still the space has real problems, especially for the next wave of artists. The colorfield painters. Huge canvases that physically don’t fit. It’s too bad because philosophically these artists really fit the collection Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  57. 57. Radiating rhythm and time Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  58. 58. Radiating motion and action Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  59. 59. Radiating Spirituality Best. Art Quote. Ever. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  60. 60. The flip side is that the constraints create some amazing opportunities Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  61. 61. Calder shortly after opening. Maybe the best display of one of his mobiles ever. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  62. 62. This expression of her work isn’t possible unless you have this space. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  63. 63. James Turrell Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  64. 64. The museum continues to evolve Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  65. 65. Thanhausser wing. German Art Dealer Donates collection of pantings in ’63. They build a new wing where office space used to be. Doesn’t work so great. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  66. 66. 1989. Museum needs structural repair Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  67. 67. They use this opportunity to build an Addition. Critics start to Loose their shit. Now they love the museum, It’s become iconic. They say the addition has made it “the toilet bowl of NYC.” Totally unwarranted. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  68. 68. This is a Sketch from ~1943 FLW had a similar plan. FLW hated NYC and wanted a backdrop all along “There is no real architecture in New York” NYC is NOT a sympathetic environment Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  69. 69. This is the guy who oversaw the modern expansion and renovation. Douchebag written all over him. Last position was Mass MoCa. Giant art space / shopping mall concept Brings Mass Commercialization to The Museum. Mission Creep Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  70. 70. Bilibao. Same museum formula. Rockstar Architect. The Experience is the Interface as much as it is the Art. Totally works. Transforms the region. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  71. 71. Museum in Soho. Crappy exhibits by Prada and Harley Davidson Complete Bust. Closes in 2001. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  72. 72. Las Vegas. (PUKE) Opens same year Soho Closes Closes 2008. Irreparable damage to the brand Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  73. 73. Same broken formula as SoHo. Crappy Commercial exhibits Irreparable damage to the Guggenheim brand Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  74. 74. Abu Dhabi Slated for 2017 Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  75. 75. Helsinki (loosing entry) Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  76. 76. Helsinki (winning design) Slated for 2016. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  77. 77. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  78. 78. Hilla and her Dogs. She made alliances with hardball artists early. Rudolph Bauer and Ferdinand Leger. In getting UX work done, one of the most important things you can do is to build small alliances internally. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  79. 79. Guggenheim org forgot who they were. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  80. 80. The formula of big, experiential spaces works so they keep doing it. They have transformed into a multi-node, international network of art institutions. No other museum organization is this ambitious. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  81. 81. We like patterns. FLW had museum patterns. He thought they sucked. He broke them deliberately because the patterns weren’t meeting the requirements of the content. We should do the same. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  82. 82. If you really want to innovate. You need to embrace your constrains. Somethings would not have ever existed unless they were totally re- framed. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  83. 83. It’s hard to fault Wright for not foreseeing 12 foot canvases. But still. The space had other problems he could have foreseen (Climate control etc). Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  84. 84. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  85. 85. Jared Caponi, Exploded Map Inc.
 @jaredac Big Design 2015
  • ShahdAlmuhtaseb

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    Nov. 18, 2015
  • DavidKnapp1

    Sep. 22, 2015

The Guggenheim Museum story takes many fascinating twists and turns from it’s humble origins as a small, focused collection in a New York City apartment to it’s current iteration as a diverse global art institution that oversees one of the preeminent modern art collections of the world. In this talk we will look at decisions, characters, problems and evolution points in the museum’s history that have parallels to, and contain lessons for, the practice of modern day user experience.

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