Frank Lloyd Wright at the Milwaukee Art Museum

On Monday, the Milwaukee Art Museum sent out a press release on their Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit opening in 2011 (Feb. 12 through May 15).

Examining major projects including Unity Temple (Oak Park, Illinois, 1905), Fallingwater (Mill Run, Pennsylvania, 1936), Johnson Wax (Racine, Wisconsin, 1936, known today as the SC Johnson Administration Building), Taliesin (1911–59), and Taliesin West (Scottsdale, Arizona, 1937–59), the exhibition will analyze Wright’s objectives through a 21st-century lens. It will include scale models, furniture, photo enlargements, and video footage of his most important projects—as well as 33 drawings that have never been exhibited publicly—to examine how Wright’s designs continue to inspire modern architects.



The exhibition will begin with the end of Wright’s career and reflect on his grand opus, Living City, which, though never realized, was the culmination of all his work. This blueprint for Wright’s urban utopia incorporated the natural environment into everyday life. Wright’s design for cities and suburban communities integrated nature, affordable homes, enlightened workspaces, parking, and other aspects of daily living, all in a repeatable model.


While I’m skeptical of the “through a 21st-century lens” part, an exhibit focusing on ideas rather than things is always an exciting event — too often, for too many, Wright’s work is about the look rather than the idea.