This distinctive and iconic building was Wright’s last major work, and instantly polarized architecture critics although today it is widely revered. Its appearance is in sharp contrast to the more typically boxy Manhattan buildings that surround it, a fact relished by Wright who claimed that his museum would make the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art “look like a Protestant barn.”
Internally, the viewing gallery forms a gentle spiral from the ground level up to the top of the building. Paintings are displayed along the walls of the spiral and also in viewing rooms found at stages along the way.
Most criticism of the building has focused on the idea that it overshadows the artworks displayed within, and that it is particularly difficult to properly hang paintings in the shallow windowless exhibition niches which surround the central spiral. Prior to its opening, twenty-one artists signed a letter protesting the display of their work in such a space.