Lonely Planet Writer

Major retrospective at New York’s MoMA will mark 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birth

Next year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Frank Lloyd Wright, the famed American architect whose works include the Guggenheim museum in New York and Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. To mark the occasion, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York will launch a huge retrospective that will include artefacts that have never been seen by the public.

Liberty Magazine Cover. 1926. Color pencil on paper. 24 1/2 x 28 1/4″ (62.2 x 71.8 cm). The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York).
Liberty Magazine Cover. 1926. Color pencil on paper. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York).

The exhibit, entitled Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, will be on display from 12 June until 1 October, 2017. The museum described Wright’s place in history as “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”.

While he may be best known for his architectural style, his designs were not limited to his famous buildings, but spanned from light fixtures, rug patterns, skyscrapers and landscape designs. The exhibit will include about 450 works, including drawings, architectural models, photographs, furniture, films and much more. There will be 12 sections and each will explore a key object or group of objects from the Frank Lloyd Wright Archive.

Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Guggenheim Museum in New York. Image by Bryan Ledgard / CC BY 2.0

MoMA notes that while Wright is often viewed as a regional architect – most of his work is found around the US – he actually travelled extensively in Europe, the Soviet Union, Japan and South America.

For anyone who can’t wait until next year for the exhibit, many Wright-related historic sites can be seen in Illinois, such as his former private residence, which is now the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. Wright spent the first 20 years or his career in Chicago, and his designs can be seen at the Robie House at the University of Chicago, or the Rookery in Chicago’s financial district.

Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright. Image by Jonathan Lin / CC BY-SA 2.0

Perhaps one of his most famous homes, now a National Historic Landmark and open to the public, is Fallingwater in southwest Pennsylvania. The home stretches over a 30 foot waterfall and has been a prominent work of Wright’s, even appearing on the cover of Time magazine back in 1938.