The Museum of Modern Art announces Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, a major exhibition on Frank Lloyd Wright that critically engages his multifaceted practice, on view from June 12 to October 1, 2017. Wright was one of the most prolific and renowned architects of the 20th century, a radical designer and intellectual who embraced new technologies and materials, pioneered do-it-yourself construction systems as well as avant-garde experimentation, and advanced original theories with regards to nature, urban planning, and social politics.
Marking the 150th anniversary of the American architect’s birth on June 8, 1867, the exhibition will comprise approximately 450 works made from the 1890s through the 1950s, including architectural drawings, models, building fragments, films, television broadcasts, print media, furniture, tableware, textiles, paintings, photographs, and scrapbooks, along with a number of works that have rarely or never been publicly exhibited.
Structured as an anthology rather than a comprehensive, monographic presentation of Wright’s work, the exhibition is divided into 12 sections, each of which investigates a key object or cluster of objects from the Frank Lloyd Wright Archive, interpreting and contextualizing it, as well as juxtaposing it with other works from the Archive, from MoMA, or from outside collections.
The exhibition seeks to open up Wright’s work to critical inquiry and debate, and to introduce experts and general audiences alike to new angles and interpretations of this extraordinary architect. Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive is organized by MoMA in collaboration with the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York, and organized by Barry Bergdoll, Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA, and the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University; with Jennifer Gray, Project Research Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art.
The transfer of the Frank Lloyd Wright Archive in 2012 to MoMA and to Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University presented an unprecedented occasion to reveal the extent to which the Archive still has new perspectives, themes, and connections to offer on Wright’s work and legacy. Often construed as a regional architect, Wright in fact moved among international networks, traveling extensively in Europe, the Soviet Union, Japan, and South America.
Frank Lloyd Wrigh designed over 1000 projects throughout the US and the world, including countries such as Japan and Iraq. His design practice encompassed all scales and building types, from light fixtures, rug patterns, and furniture, to residences, museums, and skyscrapers, as well as landscape designs, and community and regional plans.
Wright also established an architectural school that functioned as a laboratory of innovative design, progressive educational practices, and collective living. His politics and architectural philosophies challenged existing social and economic structures, even as he pioneered radical engineering solutions and prefabricated construction systems that challenged the building industry.
Frank Lloyd Wright at 150 is organized around a central chronological spine highlighting the major events in Wright’s life and career, which will be illustrated with some of his finest drawings and include key works such as Unity Temple (1905–08), the Robie House (1908–10), Fallingwater (1934–37), the Johnson Wax Administration Building (1936–39), and Beth Sholom Synagogue (1953–59). Unfolding from this orienting spine are 12 subsections, covering themes both familiar and little explored, that highlight for visitors the process of discovery undertaken by invited scholars, historians, architects, and art conservators.