Louis Sullivan: The Struggle for American Architecture

At one of the Wright Plus events in 2009, Lisa and I saw of the film the film Louis Sullivan: The Struggle for American Architecture and heard the director give a brief talk. Though unfinished at the time, the film was clearly going to be astounding. The trailer and additional clips from the film can be viewed here

The film was completed in early 2010, and it has been showing at film festivals and special screenings, and winning great reviews ever since.



From the description on the website:

But this film aspires to present a lot more than just great photography. Sullivan’s quixotic belief in the unbreakable connection between social values and architecture is closely examined, as are the cultural forces at work at the end of the nineteenth century that made it impossible for Sullivan’s aesthetic to take root in the American consciousness. The film presents him as an artist who never felt completely comfortable in either the vanishing world of nineteenth-century romanticism or the unsentimental and mechanized one of the twentieth century. Yet he understood both like no other artist of the period. Out of this conflict came incomparable works of architecture that vividly captured the end of one age and the dawn of another.


Mark Richard Smith, the director, was interviewed on Chicago Public Radio’s Eight Forty-Eight in March, and the interview is available on-line.

I’ll post information on any screenings I hear about on the site. The DVD will be release late this year, though you can reserve a copy now. You can also purchase the film’s (gorgeous) poster.