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Milwaukee Art Museum Offers a Fresh Perspective on Frank Lloyd Wright with New Exhibition
Unity Temple, Oak Park, Illinois. Completed 1908. Frank Lloyd Wright. Credit: Alan Weintraub/Arcaid Images.
MILWAUKEE, WI.- On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, studio and school in Spring Green, Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Art Museum presents a major exhibition offering a fresh perspective on celebrated architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright’s seven-decade career. The exhibition runs from February 12 through May 15, 2011.

Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century surveys more than 150 works, including drawings —33 of which have never been exhibited publicly— scale models, furniture, and photography as well as video footage of Wright and several key projects. Reflecting on Wright’s impact during his lifetime and his significance today, the retrospective highlights the many triumphs of Wright’s career and focus on his grand opus of suburban planning, Living City (1958) which, though never realized, was the culmination of all his work. This blueprint for Wright’s urban utopia vision incorporated the natural environment into everyday life.

“Wright defined organic architecture as being appropriate to ‘place, people and time’ and designed around those elements. He wanted to connect with new technology and use it to advance his architecture,” said Brady Roberts, chief curator for the Milwaukee Art Museum. “Wright’s design for suburban communities integrated nature, affordable homes, enlightened workspaces, parking, and other aspects of daily living, all in a repeatable model.”

Examining major projects including Unity Temple (Oak Park, Illinois, 1905), Fallingwater (Mill Run, Pennsylvania, 1936), Johnson Wax (Racine, Wisconsin, 1936, known today as the SC Johnson Administration Building), Taliesin (1911–59), and Taliesin West (Scottsdale, Arizona, 1937–59), the exhibition analyzes Wright’s objectives and illuminate the pioneering vision of the man known as America’s greatest architect.

“Wright was a prophetic thinker, decades ahead of his peers. In many ways, key aspects of his career relate to issues and practices of architecture today, including sustainability and efficiency,” said Roberts. “In examining Wright’s concern with material and space efficiency, economical use of manufactured materials, attention to local environment, and use of natural light, we see his profound contribution as a visionary for architectural practice in the twenty-first century.”

Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century is organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and Phoenix Art Museum in conjunction with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale. The exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum celebrates the centennial of Taliesin in 2011, which is also the 10th anniversary of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Santiago Calatrava–designed Quadracci Pavilion. The exhibition will travel to Phoenix Art Museum in 2012.

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) spent more than 70 years creating designs that revolutionized the art and architecture of the 20th century. In all, he designed 1,141 works—including houses, offices, churches, schools, libraries, bridges and museums. Of that total, 532 resulted in completed works, 409 of which still stand. Wright also designed furniture, fabrics, art glass, lamps, dinnerware, silver, linens and graphic arts. In addition, he was a prolific writer, an educator and a philosopher. He authored 20 books and countless articles, lectured throughout the United States and in Europe, and developed a remarkable plan for decentralizing urban America that continues to be debated by scholars and writers to this day.





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