MoMA Announces a Major Retrospective to Commemorate Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th Birthday

Today, the Museum of Modern Art in New York announced a major retrospective of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work to be displayed in 2017, commemorating 150 years since the architect’s birth. Opening next June, the exhibition will feature approximately 450 works spanning Wright’s career including architectural drawings, models, building fragments, films, television broadcasts, print media, furniture, tableware, textiles, paintings, photographs, and scrapbooks, along with several works that have rarely or never been shown publicly.

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MoMA Announces a Major Retrospective to Commemorate Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th Birthday, Plan for Greater Baghdad. Unbuilt project. 1957-58. 34 7/8 × 52″ (88.6 × 132.1 cm). Image © The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Plan for Greater Baghdad. Unbuilt project. 1957-58. 34 7/8 × 52″ (88.6 × 132.1 cm). Image © The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

The exhibition will be structured as an “anthology” of Wright’s work, separated into 12 sections dedicated to a key project or set of pieces from the Frank Lloyd Wright Archive, which was acquired in 2012 by MoMAin conjunction with the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University. Models and drawings from works such as Unity Temple (1905–08), the Robie House (1908–10), Fallingwater (1934–37), the Johnson Wax Administration Building (1936–39), and Beth Sholom Synagogue (1953–59) will be on display, alongside investigations into lesser-known projects such as his proposed design for the Rosenwald School for African American children and Wright’s design for a model farm.

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Press conference unveiling The Mile-High Illinois (Chicago, Illinois). Unbuilt Project. 1956. Image © The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Press conference unveiling The Mile-High Illinois (Chicago, Illinois). Unbuilt Project. 1956. Image © The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

The exhibition will also cover Wright’s use of ornament, circular geometries and his Native American-inspired designs. Other considerations of the retrospective will be the intersection of nature, landscape, and architecture, and the contrast between the architect’s call for the democratization of the profession and his celebrity and media prowess.

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Rosenwald Foundation School (La Jolla, California). Unbuilt Project. 1928. Pencil and color pencil on tracing paper. 12 3/4 x 25 7/8” (32.4 x 65.7 cm). Image © The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Rosenwald Foundation School (La Jolla, California). Unbuilt Project. 1928. Pencil and color pencil on tracing paper. 12 3/4 x 25 7/8” (32.4 x 65.7 cm). Image © The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
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Raul Bailleres House (Acapulco, Mexico). Unbuilt Project. 1952. Brown ink, pencil and color pencil on tracing paper. 31 3/4 x 52 7/8″ (80.6 x 134.3 cm). Image © 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). Unbuilt Project. 1952. Brown ink, pencil and color pencil on tracing paper. 31 3/4 x 52 7/8″ (80.6 x 134.3 cm). Image © The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

A recently restored model of one of Wright’s proposed towers designed to cluster around St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, deemed too radical for the tastes of the time, will conclude the exhibition. The final section will also include the model of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, a historical analysis of drawings, and a data-visualization project illustrating the architect’s global network of clients, professional relationships, and buildings.

The exhibition is scheduled to run from June 12 – October 1, 2017.

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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. Image © 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. 24 1/2 x 28 1/4″ (62.2 x 71.8 cm). The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives. Image © The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
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Model of St. Mark’s-in-the-Bouwerie. Unbuilt project. New York, New York. 1927-31. Painted wood. 53 x 16 x 16″ (134.6 x 40.6 x 40.6 cm). Image © 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-in-the-Bouwerie. Unbuilt project. New York, New York. 1927-31. Painted wood. 53 x 16 x 16″ (134.6 x 40.6 x 40.6 cm). Image © The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

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