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Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

May 25, 2009 /

Guggenheim
New York, New York, USA
On view: May 15, 2009 - August 23, 2009

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Photo Robert E. Mates © The Solomon R. Guggenheim FoundationCrowds lined up at the opening of the Solomon R. Guggenheim MuseumNew York, October 21, 1959

Fifty years after the realization of Frank Lloyd Wright's renowned design the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum celebrates the golden anniversary of its landmark building.

The exhibition takes its title from Frank Lloyd Wright's musings on the importance of interior space in shaping and informing a structure's exterior.

The building is no longer a block of building material dealt with, artistically, from the outside, the room within is the great fact about building - the room to be expressed in the exterior as space enclosed./Frank Lloyd Wright

Few designs in Wright's oeuvre so well illustrate the concept of designing "from within outward" as the Guggenheim Museum, in which the interior form gives shape to the exterior shell of the building.

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Photo © The Solomon R. Guggenheim FoundationExterior viewSolomon R. Guggenheim MuseumNew York, 1943 - 59
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Photo © 2009 The Frank Lloyd Wright FoundationSolomon R. Guggenheim MuseumNew York 1943 - 59Ink and pencil on tracing paper

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Photo © 2009 The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation"The Reception"Graphite pencil and colored pencil on paper

The anniversary exhibition brings together 64 projects designed by one of the most influential architects of the 20th century, including privately commissioned residences, civic and government buildings, religious and performance spaces, as well as unrealized urban mega-structures.

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Photo © 2009 The Frank Lloyd Wright FoundationCloverleaf Quadruple Housing (project)Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 1942Colored pencil and ink on paper
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Photo © 2009 The Frank Lloyd Wright FoundationGordon Strong AutomobileObjective and Planetarium (project)Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland, 1924 - 25Colored pencil on tracing paper
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Photo © 2009 The Frank Lloyd Wright FoundationSteel Cathedral, New York, 1926 (project)Graphite pencil and colored pencil on paper

Presented on the spiral ramps of Wright's museum through a range of media, including more than 200 original Frank Lloyd Wright drawings, many of which are on view to the public for the first time, as well as newly commissioned models and digital animations the exhibition illuminates Wright's pioneering concepts of space and reveals the architect's continuing relevance to contemporary design.

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Photo David Heald © The Solomon R. Guggenheim FoundationModel of the Solomon R. Guggenheim MuseumNew York, 1943-59
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Photo David Heald © The Solomon R. Guggenheim FoundationModel, by Situ Studio, Huntington Hartford Play ResortLos Angeles, 1947 (unbuilt)
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Photo David Heald © The Solomon R. Guggenheim FoundationInstallation view

During his 72-year career, Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), who died just six months before the opening of the Guggenheim, worked independently from any single style and developed a new sense of architecture in which form and function are inseparable. Known for his inventiveness and the diversity of his work, Wright is celebrated for the awe-inspiring beauty and tranquility of his designs.

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Photo © 2009 The Frank Lloyd Wright FoundationTaliesin WestScottsdale, Arizona, 1937 - 59View from prow to drafting studio and original dining room
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Photo David Heald © The Solomon R. Guggenheim FoundationTaliesin IIISpring Green, Wisconsin, 1925 - 59View of the Hill Tower

His innovative designs complement the surrounding environment of the site and intensify the physical, emotional, and social experience of flowing, continuous space within them. In his earliest designs, such as the Larkin Company Administration Building and Unity Temple, Wright carefully deconstructs the box-like environment of his European contemporaries by opening up corners and using walls merely as screens to enclose tranquil interior spaces.

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Photo © 2009 The Frank Lloyd Wright FoundationLarkin Company Administration BuildingBuffalo, New York, 1902 - 06 (demolished)
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Photo © 2009 The Frank Lloyd Wright FoundationLarkin Company Administration BuildingBuffalo, New York, 1902 - 06 (demolished)Interior court view, Print
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Photo © 2009 The Frank Lloyd Wright FoundationUnity TempleOak Park, Illinois, 1905 - 08Ink and watercolor on art paper

Whether creating a private home, workplace, religious edifice, or cultural attraction, Wright sought to unite people, buildings, and nature in physical and spiritual harmony. To realize such a union in material form, Wright created environments of simplicity and repose through carefully composed plans and elevations based on consistent, geometric grammars.

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Photo: Ezra Stoller © EstoMarin County Civic CenterSan Rafael, California, 1957 - 62Main entrance of administration building
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Photo © 2009 The Frank Lloyd Wright FoundationImperial Hotel, Scheme #2Tokyo, 1913 - 22 (demolished)View of the promenade

Rather than a retrospective, this exhibition focuses on the diversity of Wright's vision and the ways he sought to realize it, conveying fresh perspectives on how the buildings themselves celebrate that vision through spaces that enrich our lives with their transformational power./Phil Allsopp, President and CEO, The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation


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Photo William Short © The Solomon R. Guggenheim FoundationFrank Lloyd Wright during construction of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, ca. 1959

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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