MoMA vs Guggenheim Museum – Which is the Best?

So many tourists visiting New York seek an answer to this question, “MoMA or Guggenheim?”

Art lovers have something unique to see in both museums with respect to their collections.

However, if you are going to New York on a budget trip or are low on time to visit, you might have to choose any one of the museums.

To help you make a better decision, check out our comparison of MoMA vs Guggenheim.

Is MoMA The Same As The Guggenheim?

No. Although both museums are in New York, they are different tourist attractions.

MoMA is the Museum of Modern Arts and focuses mainly on cultural representations of Contemporary Art. 

On the other hand, the Guggenheim building is an art in itself.

The museum dedicates much of its gallery space (80% to 90%) to temporary exhibitions.

It only has a few artworks in its permanent collections.

MoMA and The Guggenheim are 2 miles (3.2 km) apart, which is a 40-minute walk around the city.

MoMA vs Guggenheim – Our Recommendation

MoMA vs Guggenheim is a constant confusion among visitors who want to enjoy modern art.

Here is our recommendation – visit both MoMA and Guggenheim.

Visiting both museums will give you a thorough and close look at modern and contemporary art.

Also, they are located close to each other, which makes it a perfect addition to a day’s itinerary.

You can buy their tickets in combination and save up to 10% on individual entry tickets.

However, if you have time only for one museum, the choice depends on your preference.

To enjoy contemporary art, visit MoMA. If you prefer watching exhibitions and enjoying architecture, then head to Guggenheim.

If you are still confused between MoMA and Guggenheim, read ahead as we compare both the museum based on various criteria to find which is the best.

Ticket Prices at MoMA and The Guggenheim

The museums, MoMA and The Guggenheim tickets have almost similar entry prices.

The MoMA entry ticket costs $30 for adults, $22 for senior citizens (65+ years) and $17 for students.

Children 16 years old can enjoy free entry to MoMA.

MoMA offers free entry for New York City residents on the first Friday evening of every month from 4 to 8 pm.

The Guggenheim entry ticket costs $30 for adults and $19 for students and senior citizens.

Children below 12 years get free entry to the Guggenheim Museum.

The Guggenheim Museum offers to pay what you wish for hours each Saturday from 6 pm to 8 pm. 

If you are interested in visiting both museums, get the MoMA + Guggenheim combo ticket for $52.

MoMA vs The Guggenheim – Features

The Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim are unique museums that captivate the hearts of visitors.

If you love to see works of emerging artists and have a likelihood of classical paintings, both museums will enchant you with whatever they have in their exhibits.

So, it is difficult to consider one museum as best over the other one. 

Let’s compare the two museums on the building paradigms, modern art on display, their respective art collection, modern art on display, outdoor space, etc., to find the one that suits you best.

MoMa vs Guggenmehim – Which Museum Has a Better Modern Art Collection?

Modern Art Collection Moma
Image: Moma.org

The Museum of Modern Arts offers a rich collection of modern art collections compared to Guggenheim.

MoMA houses many paintings in a significant concentration by the artists who become household names for their works.

These reputed names include Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Matisse, Kahlo, Warhol and Pollack.

Most visitors admire the museum’s stunning collection of contemporary art.

However, the Guggenheim consists of some conservative artworks from the late twentieth century and early 21st century. 

It houses works of relevant artists such as Louise Burgeois, William Kentridge and James Turrell.

So far as the collection of artworks is concerned, there is no comparison between these two, as MoMA wins in this category with its extensive modern art collection.

Overall Art Collection – MoMA vs Guggenheim

MoMA is better
Image: Moma.org

MoMA and the Guggenheim exhibit the best of modern and contemporary art.

MoMA entirely focuses on modern art and therefore, there is a lesser variety of artworks.

The simulating thing about MoMA is the museum’s ability to question the meaning of the word art.

The museum also has artistic manifestation as pieces produced by the visual arts. 

On the other hand, Guggenheim has a significantly smaller number of paintings in its permanent collection.

The Museum of Guggenheim offers most of its spaces to temporary exhibitions, introducing new artists and their artworks for visitors to enjoy.

So, if you are an art lover who wants to visit a place to see an extensive art collection of modern paintings, MoMA is your place.

But if you are looking for a place where the works of new artists can be seen, then Guggenheim is best.

Outdoor Space

What embraces the presence of MoMA in New York City is its most beloved green space, the Sculpture Garden. 

The garden is an outdoor gallery for changing installations that would bring nature, architecture and art together differently.

Guggenheim Museum does not have much to offer from the outside, just the splendor of the building.

But when you are inside the museum, Wright’s design will make the space within the reality of the building.

So, the winner of this category is MoMA, as it offers a great green space to relax outside the museum.

MoMA vs Guggenheim – The Buildings

The building sizes and shapes significantly differ between MoMA and The Guggenheim.

MoMA was built earlier in 1929 and has undergone various changes.

The latest renovation came in 2004 by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi.

This latest renovation made the museum more spacious and suitable for a Modern Art Museum.

MoMA’s building merges with the city so that it can hardly be identified from the outside.

And therefore, to help visitors, the building comprises a large sign to help tourists identify the attraction.

The Guggenheim was inaugurated in 1959.

The Guggenheim Museum was made by Frank Lloyd Wright and it later became an example to study in its radical way of exhibiting art.

Serving as the building of Wright’s late career, it can be considered a monument to modernism for its unique architecture.

So, for those visiting the museum to view the museum building, you can go to The Guggenheim.

Note – If you want to visit the museums to see the art collections, we recommend you choose MoMA.

Opening Hours

Sometimes, while selecting one museum to visit out of two, tourists search for its opening time to make their plans accordingly.

The Museum of Modern Arts opens from Sunday to Friday from 10.30 am to 5.30 pm.

MoMA offers better visiting hours during summer days, staying open till 9 pm.

The museum remains closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

The Guggenheim Museum’s opening hours are 11 am, and the closing time is 6 pm. On Saturdays, the museum opens at 8 pm.

So, if you want to start your tour of the museums early in the morning, visiting MoMA first is a better option, as the museum gets crowded by noon.

As MoMA attracts more visitors and is smaller in its building size, it seems more crowded than the Guggenheim.

Note: MoMA and Guggenheim offer timed tickets to their visitors.

Hence, booking your tickets in advance is essential to secure your entry to the museums during your preferred time slot.

Distance between MoMA and The Guggenheim

MoMA and The Guggenheim are just 2 miles (3.2 km) apart. 

If you explore any of these museums in the morning, you can easily walk through 5th Avenue to get to the other museum by mid-afternoon in around 40 minutes.

Buying online tickets in advance is always better to avoid any last-minute disappointments after reaching your much-awaited place. 

It will also save you from standing in long lines outside the ticket counter.

MoMA or Guggenheim – Which Is Better?

After reading all the information above, you might have gotten a better picture of both museums by comparing the two based on varied criteria. 

If you still wish to visit only one of the museums, here are our recommendations based on the following circumstances.

Based On Your Area Of Interest

Suppose you want to see some of the best collections of artworks revolving around the modern art category. In that case, visiting MoMA is the best option.

From the best of contemporary art to the significant ones in the category of photography and architecture, you will find it all in one place.

If you are into what’s new in the field, then there’s a high possibility of you enjoying the Guggenheim Museum.

For architecture lovers, it proves as well an experience.

MoMA is the best option for you if you want to visit the museum for its variety of exhibits.

Based On How Much Time You Have

As MoMA’s building is compact and smaller in area, it takes around three hours to visit completely. 

Meanwhile, the Guggenheim has a smaller number of paintings in its collection and it would take less time to see the exhibits in it.

Therefore, if you want a wholesome experience from the museum exhibits, we advise you to go with MoMA.

You can save the Guggenheim for later visits.

Featured Image: Guggenheim.org

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