Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward
Guggenheim New York
1071 Fifth Avenue
May 15 - Aug 23, 2009
The Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit currently on view at the Guggenheim displays an amazing collection of hand drawings by FLW for 64 built and unbuilt projects. His drawings show his immense talent in rendering detailed perspectives and hard-lined plans and sections in a style that has been emulated by architects everywhere.
Although this exhibit has a very complete collection of FLW's projects, the exhibit should really be titled "Architectural Building Drawings of Frank Lloyd Wright." Missing from the exhibit are a complete enough set of drawings or models to fully realize most of the projects, and there is no mention of his gorgeous non-building designs for objects like lamps, chairs, stained glass, and woodwork. Most projects were displayed very similarly, with a brief summary of the use, date, and location of the building and two hand drawings by FLW. There were very few models, preliminary concept sketches, or any other elements that would help to actually visualize or understand the design. This created a slightly monotonous pattern to the exhibit.
The focus of the exhibit was definitely on the dying art of the architectural hand drawing and was a celebration of the old-fashioned colored pencil perspectives with retro scaled cars and people. It is amazing to see so many original drawings produced by FLW himself for famous buildings like the many versions of Taliesin and various Prairie Houses. I was impressed by the gorgeous drawings, but was definitely hoping to experience a more encompassing and in-depth explanation of the pioneering concepts that made FLW the most well-known architect of our time. With an extreme focus on 2d floorplans and sections, the exhibit was really lacking elements that could fully explain FLW's building concepts.