Frank Lloyd Wright Archives Moving to New York

The Museum of Modern Art, Columbia University, and The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation have announced that the vast archives of Frank Lloyd Wright have been jointly acquired by the University and the Museum and will become part of their permanent collections.


They include some 23,000 architectural drawings, 44,000 historical photographs, large-scale presentation models, manuscripts, extensive correspondence and other documents. Joint stewardship and preservation of the archives will provide new impetus for publications, exhibitions, and public programs on Wright’s work, allowing it to be displayed in the context of other great 20th century modernists. It will also maximize the visibility and research value of the collection for generations of scholars, students and the public.


The complete physical archives will be permanently transferred to the collections of Columbia and MoMA under a joint acquisition and stewardship agreement, with the Foundation retaining all copyright and intellectual property responsibility for Wright’s prolific body of work. The archives will be named “The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York).”


The Modern Gallery photo


“The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation takes seriously its responsibility to serve the public good by ensuring the best possible conservation, accessibility, and impact of one of the most important and meaningful archives in the world,” said Sean Malone, CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. “Given the individual strengths, resources and abilities of the Foundation, MoMA and Columbia, it became clear that this collaborative stewardship is far and away the best way to guarantee the deepest impact, the highest level of conservation and the best public access.”


“Bringing the archives of Frank Lloyd Wright to MoMA and Columbia University is extraordinary,” said Glenn D. Lowry, Director of The Museum of Modern Art. “It places one of the most important bodies of work of a major architect in a central location in New York, and will be transformative for both institutions.”


 “At MoMA, Frank Lloyd Wright’s work will be in conversation with great modern artists and architects such as Picasso, Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier,” said Barry Bergdoll, the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA and professor in the Art History and Archeology Department at Columbia. “This collaboration provides opportunities to reposition Wright as a key figure in the larger development of modern art and architecture, after decades of scholarship that have often emphasized his lone genius and his unique Americanness. A new chapter in appreciating Wright is opened by this new setting for his legacy.”


As part of a three-institution “Archives Steering Committee,” the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation will help guide development of the archives and provide interpretive insights on Wright’s work and life. It will continue to preserve and share Wright’s National Historic Landmarks at Taliesin in Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Arizona, including the historic furnishings, memorabilia and artifacts used to interpret both sites, along with large and important collections of art, furniture and artifacts that Wright created and collected over his lifetime.


Wright is considered by many to be one of the 20th century’s most influential architects, a figure whose iconic work helped define modernism. The American Institute of Architects, in a recent national survey, recognized him as “the greatest American architect of all time.”


More than a third of Wright's 409 extant structures are included on the National Register of Historic Places or are in a National Historic District, according to the foundation.


Considered a defining voice of 20th-Century modernism, his works include many homes in Oak Park outside Chicago, the distinctive spiral of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan and the cantilevered home known as Fallingwater, which straddles a waterfall in woods outside Pittsburgh.


The opening reception of a year-long celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West was held at the Phoenix Art Musuem in February of this year and highlighted the TIME, PLACE AND PEOPLE exhibit at the Museum.   Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century explored the tenets of Wright’s organic architecture—appropriateness to time, place and people—through the current perspective of green building; specifically the concepts of energy, materials, site, climate, space efficiency, pre-fabricated technology, transportation and urban planning. The exhibition, from Dec. 18,, 2011 to April 29, 2012,  highlighted many triumphs of Wright’s career including Unity Temple (Oak Park, IL, 1905), Fallingwater (Mill Run, PA, 1936), Johnson Wax Administration Building (Racine, WI, 1936, known today as the SC Johnson Administration Building), Taliesin (Spring Green, WI, 1911-59) and Taliesin West (Scottsdale, AZ, 1937-59).


The design of Arizona’s own Taliesin West exemplifies Wright’s architectural philosophy. The dramatic rugged landscape of the Sonoran Desert provided the inspiration for buildings that evolve and blend with the environment. Wright first came to Arizona in 1928 as a consultant for the Arizona Biltmore hotel. He returned the following year to work on another large resort commission, setting up camp near Chandler, AZ. This project fell victim to the financial collapse of the 1930s and it would be another seven years before Wright would return to the area to begin building a permanent residence, Taliesin West, 10 miles north of Scottsdale. Over the next 22 years he designed dozens of Arizona residential and commercial structures, some of which were never built, eight of which are still in use today. Celebrating Arizona’s Centennial, a special focus of the exhibition was a large-scale model and drawings of a new Arizona State Capitol building proposed by Wright in 1957.


The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation will hold a Symposium and Dinner Celebration at Taliesin West in Scottsdale on Nov. 9, 2012.  Minding Design: Neuroscience, Design Education, and the Imagination, is a collaborative effort between the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture. It brings together renowned architects Juhani Pallasmaa and Steven Holl with scientists Iain McGilchrist and Michael Arbib to explore the implications of these advances on the education of those who design our built world. The event, also, celebrates the 75th Anniversary of Taliesin West.


Photos courtesy of The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation



About admin

More in: Style

From Frontdoors Magazine

Back to Top