"He was the man called ‘the Michelangelo of the 20th century’ by the architect Eero Saarinen, so it's no surprise that 150 years after his birth, the work of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright still provides plenty to unpack."
— Olivia B. Waxman - TIME
"Remarkable... a fresh age in Wright scholarship… shows that Wright’s long career, as multidimensional and accomplished as that of almost any architect in history, was richer and more complex than even admiring critics knew."
— Paul Goldberger, Bloomberg Business Week
"Clearly written and tightly focused... this hefty volume would be a nice library addition for general readers curious about American urban history."
— Marilyn Gates, New York Journal of Books
"Buildings are dynamic things, not static objects. A look through Wright's archive reminds us that some will exist only in our imaginations, some will be lived in exactly as they were first designed, and others will be destroyed or altered beyond recognition."
— Julian Rose, Bookforum
Published for a major exhibition in 2017 at The Museum of Modern Art in New York to celebrate his 150th birthday, this catalog reveals new perspectives on the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, a designer so prolific and familiar as to nearly preclude critical reexamination.
Structured as a series of inquiries into the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives at Taliesin West, Arizona (recently acquired by MoMA and Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University), the book is a collection of scholarly explorations rather than an attempt to construct a master narrative.
Each chapter centers on a key object from the archive that an invited author has “unpacked”— tracing its meanings and connections, and juxtaposing it with other works from the archive, from MoMA, or from outside collections.
Wright’s quest to build a mile-high skyscraper reveals him to be one of the earliest celebrity architects, using television, press relations and other forms of mass media to advance his own self-crafted image.
A little-known project for a Rosenwald School for African-American children, together with other projects that engage Japanese and Native American culture, ask provocative questions about Wright’s positions on race and cultural identity.
Still other investigations engage the architect’s lifelong dedication to affordable and do-it-yourself housing, as well as the ecological systems, both social and environmental, that informed his approach to cities, landscapes and even ornament.
The publication aims to open up Wright’s work to questions, interrogations and debates, and to highlight interpretations by contemporary scholars, both established Wright experts and others considering this iconic figure from new and illuminating perspectives.
Frank Lloyd Wright: Unpacking the Archive is edited by:
Edited by Barry Bergdoll, Jennifer Gray. Text by John Michael Desmond, Carole Ann Fabian, Elizabeth S. Hawley, Juliet Kinchin, Neil Levine, Ellen Moody, Therese O’Malley, Ken Tadashi Oshima, Michael Osman, Spyros Papapetros, Janet Parks, Matthew Skjonsberg, David Smiley and Mabel O. Wilson.
Published: June 27, 2017
Publisher: The Museum of Modern Art - New York
Pages: 256 - 300 color images
Dimensions: 9.5"inches W x 12" inches L
Rating: ★★★★1/2 (See FAQs)
COVER PHOTO: Perspective drawing of Fallingwater (Kaufmann House), Mill Run, Pennsylvania, 1934, is reproduced from 'Frank Lloyd Wright: Unpacking the Archive.'