Over the seven decades of his long career, Frank Lloyd Wright created some of the most innovative buildings of the 20th century. But advances in building materials and digital design technology — and his worrying, even megalomaniacal vision of architecture as a tool for social transformation — have gradually caused the field of architecture to move beyond his shadow. Wright always insisted architects should not confine themselves to merely designing pretty buildings. He believed architecture was “the mother of all arts” and could transform the world.
Frank Lloyd Wright in his workroom at Taliesin in 1956 / Photo by Ed Obma; 2010 Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ
Herein lies the paradox of his career: he was a visionary figure whose ideas were often so radical and ambitious that they seemed impractical, even dangerous. Throughout his life writers remained suspicious of his intentions, colleagues regarded him as a crank, and clients went around the twist at his utter disregard for agreed-upon budgets and specifications. Wright always knew better; it was just a matter of time before he could convince you of your error. And yet he left a legacy of buildings second to none in American architectural history.
The Milwaukee Art Museum’s exhibition “Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century” marks the centennial of Taliesin, Wright’s legendary, scandal-plagued hilltop home and summer studio in the midst of farmland about 40 miles west of Madison. It is a decent media hook for a Wright show, and the display is housed in a pleasant setting: the Quadracci Pavilion, designed by Santiago Calatrava and opened in 2001. There is a definite poetry to seeing a great architecture exhibition in a dazzling piece of architecture.
Such a contemporary setting is also something of a risk, as the show is expressly conceived to convince us of Wright’s enduring importance as an architect. It does not completely succeed, for reasons that I think have more to do with him than the choice of exhibits, or organizational structure.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com