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Milwaukee Art Museum to Premiere Frank Lloyd Wright Exhibition in February 2011
Frank Lloyd Wright, Edgar J. Kaufmann House, “Fallingwater,” Mill Run, Pennsylvania, 1934-37 © 1936 Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, Arizona.
MILWAUKEE, WIS.- 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 will present a major exhibition offering a fresh perspective on celebrated architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright’s seven-decade career. The exhibition will run 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 will highlight 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 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 will analyze 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 the 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 the Phoenix Art Museum in 2012.

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