Today marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Frank Lloyd Wright, an architect worth celebrating even if he did spend a fair amount of time insulting New York City, and every city, for that matter. To mark the occasion, the Museum of Modern Art is set to unveil a gargantuan exhibition dedicated to his work, called "Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive." Considering his archive has more than 500,000 (!) items, there's quite a bit to unpack.
Opening next Monday, the exhibition features nearly 400 works from the prolific modernist, including drawings and models of his most prominent buildings, as well as some lesser known Wrightisms, such as his furniture, paintings, tableware, and slice-of-life photos of him working and playing piano. Another highlight: his model of an enormous glass tower that he wanted to go up on St. Mark's, which had to be carefully restored by MoMA conservators prior to the exhibition.
All told, the exhibition is neither a greatest hits collection nor a "comprehensive, monographic presentation" of Wright's work. Rather, Unpacking is structured more like an anthology, with items placed alongside works from outside collections, for the sake of contextualizing Wright within the larger canon. More than anything else, a statement from MoMA reads, "the exhibition seeks to open up Wright's work to critical inquiry and debate, and to introduce experts and general audiences alike to new angles and interpretations of this extraordinary architect."
Before you head to the museum, make sure to check out our breakdown of Frank Lloyd Wright's lasting contributions to New York, including a still-standing Staten Island home, a forgotten auto showroom, and of course the Guggenheim, which was very nearly painted pink!
"Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive" runs from June 12th to October 1st on the third floor of the Robert B. Menschel Galleries.