Frank Lloyd Wright In Situ

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday June 15, 2017

The observance of the 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birth, in 1897, is being celebrated with exhibitions, tours, and special events, from New York City to the prairie states that were the architect’s home turf. Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive  continues through October 1 at the Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, NY, NY Info Read the DART feature on the exhitition here 

In Wisconsin, the sesquicentennial is being celebrated throughout the architect’s home state. In Racine, SC Johnson is presenting a major exhibition, On The Wright Trail, which includes examples of Wright’s architecture and furniture. It also includes 26 miniature scale models of some of the architect’s greatest designs, newly created for the exhibition by a local architectural draftsman.

The exhibition is free and open to the public, and includes a tour of the SC Johnson Administration Building and the 15-story Research Tower, designed by Wright, as well as the Foster + Partners-designed Fortaleza Hall. Info

 © Pedro E. Guerrero, Taliesen

The Wisconsin Historical Society, in Greenbush, is presenting an exhibition of photographs, A Taliesen Album: Wrights First Spring Green Home. The photographs document the construction of the original Taliesin (Taliesin 1), the residence/workshop Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built in Spring Green, Wisconsin in 1911-1912.  The images in this album provide a rare glimpse at a structure that stood for only a couple of years.  An arsonist burned down the residential wing of Taliesin 1 on August 15, 1914, killing seven people inside. 

Although it is clear that the album was assembled at the time of Taliesin's completion in 1912, the identity of the album's creator, recipient, or photographers are unknown.  Nevertheless, the album sheds new light on the nature of the building and the property in the absence of other visual documents. Info

Right: Pedro E. Guerrero, Sixty Years of Living Architecture: The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright in New York. 1953. © 2017 Pedro E. Guerrero Archives, courtesy MoMA

The State of Wisconsin recently introduced a self-guided driving tour in Wright's honor. The 200-mile trail winds through a cluster of southern counties featuring nine Wright landmark sites. Taliesin, Wright’s 800-acre estate in Spring Green, offers a full calendar of events, including two concert series, art workshops and architecture camps.

In July, the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust will launch an online exhibition of the architect’s personal photographs of Japan from 1905. This treasure of the Trust’s archive will make these rare images avail to a global audience for the first time. Info

Additionally, the Frank Lloyd Trust, the gateway to Wright’s Chicago, is hosting local and international tours, as well as special events throughout the year, including guided bicycle tours of Oak Park. Info Brochure

As an architect, art dealer, and designer, Frank Lloyd Wright’s interest in Japan is well known. In 1893, his visits to Japan’s national pavilion at the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition had a lasting effect on the young architect. He first went to Japan in 1905, and returned from the trip with a large selection of prints, many of which he intended to sell. Later, he resided in Japan while working on Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel, which gave him the chance to deepen his appreciation of Japanese nature and culture as seen in woodblock prints. The Art Institute of Chicago is currently presenting a selection of Japanese prints originally purchased from Wright, photos of the 1908 exhibition, as well as presentation drawings by Wright and his studio. Info


© Pedro E. Guerrero, Taliesen West

Upcoming events in Wisconsin and Chicago include:

Taliesin near Spring Green, Wis., is hosting a family-friendly Wright celebration June 17 at the estate’s Hillside Theater, complete with birthday cake. The Taliesin Community Chorus will perform the world premiere of Scott Gendel’s new choral composition honoring Wright’s 150th Aug. 6-7. Info  

The Milwaukee Art Museum is staging the exhibit “Frank Lloyd Wright: Buildings for the Prairie” (July 28 to Oct. 15), revolving around Wright’s early designs.

The Illinois Office of Tourism’s website,, recently posted trip itineraries highlighting Wright’s works in various parts of the state, including a Downstate tour that traces his Prairie Style homes and examples in northern Illinois of his middle-class-friendly Usonian architecture, a precursor to modern-day ranch homes.


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