June 22, 2017

MoMA Unpacks Frank Lloyd Wright's Archives in New Exhibit

Fallingwater

photo by: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art/Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Fallingwater (Kaufmann House), Mill Run, Pennsylvania. 1934–37. Perspective from the south. Pencil and colored pencil on paper.

Frank Lloyd Wright was a radical architect, designer, thinker, and intellectual. He was also a bit of a pack rat. And lucky for us. Because now through October 1, 2017, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York is commemorating the architect’s 150th birthday with a massive new exhibit, Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive.

Wright, a prolific architect who designed more than 1,000 buildings throughout his seven-decade career, preserved most of his drawings. He wanted to create an archive to keep his architectural philosophy alive for posterity. And in 2012, MoMA and the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University acquired this massive archive from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

Now at MoMA, there are more than 400 works on display that Wright produced from the 1890s through the 1950s, including architectural drawings, models, paintings, photographs, scrapbooks, building fragments, films, television broadcasts, furniture, tableware, and textiles. Some of the items are being publicly exhibited for the very first time.

Here’s a sneak preview of some of the pieces you can see.

Frank Lloyd Wright

photo by: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art/Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Frank Lloyd Wright, at work.

Davidson Little Farms Unit

photo by: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art/Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Davidson Little Farms Unit. Project, 1932–33. Model. Painted wood and particle board.

Winslow House

photo by: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art/Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Winslow House, River Forest, Illinois. 1893–94. Perspective. Watercolor with pencil on paper.

Model of St. Mark's Tower

photo by: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art/Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Model of St. Mark’s Tower. Unbuilt project. New York, New York. 1927-31. Painted wood.

American System-Built Houses

photo by: The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gifts of David Rockefeller, Jr. Fund, Ira Howard Levy Fund, and Jeffrey P. Klein Purchase Fund

American System-Built (Ready-Cut) Houses. Project, 1915–17. Model options. Lithograph.

Unity Temple

photo by: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art/Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Unity Temple, Oak Park, Illinois. 1905–08. Perspective from the west. Watercolor and ink on paper.

Raul Bailleres House

photo by: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art/Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Raul Bailleres House, Acapulco, Mexico. Project, 1951–52. Perspective from the patio. Ink, pencil, and colored pencil on tracing paper.

March Balloons

photo by: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art/Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

March Balloons. 1955. Drawing based on a c. 1926 design for Liberty magazine. Colored pencil on paper.

Galesburg Country Homes

photo by: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art/Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Galesburg Country Homes, Galesburg, Michigan. 1946–49. Site plan. Ink and colored pencil on tracing paper.

Little Dipper School and Community Playhouse

photo by: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art/Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Little Dipper School and Community Playhouse, Los Angeles. 1923. Perspective from the west. Pencil and colored pencil on tracing paper.

Imperial Hotel

photo by: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art/Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Imperial Hotel, Tokyo. 1913–23. Cross section looking east. Ink, pencil, and colored pencil on drafting cloth.

Gordon Strong Automobile Objective and Planetarium

photo by: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art/Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Gordon Strong Automobile Objective and Planetarium, Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland. Project, 1924–25. Perspective. Pencil and colored pencil on tracing paper.

Lauren Walser is the Los Angeles-based field editor of Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about art, architecture, and public space, and hopes to one day restore her very own Arts and Crafts-style bungalow.

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