Unpacking the Archive

MoMA to celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday with an exhibit featuring 450 of his works

Architecture East Newsletter
Raul Bailleres House (Acapulco, Mexico). Unbuilt Project. 1952. Brown ink, pencil and color pencil on tracing paper. 31 3/4 x 52 7/8″ (80.6 x 134.3 cm). The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives. (Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
Raul Bailleres House (Acapulco, Mexico). Unbuilt Project. 1952. Brown ink, pencil and color pencil on tracing paper. 31 3/4 x 52 7/8″ (80.6 x 134.3 cm). The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives. (Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York will be celebrating Frank Lloyd Wright‘s 150th birthday in 2017—one year from today—by opening a comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the prolific Wisconsin-born architect. The exhibit, titled Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, will feature up to 450 works that span more than 60 years. Unpacking the Archive will showcase how Wright was radical designer eager to push the boundaries of architecture’s technologies and materials while pioneering do-it-yourself construction systems.

Plan for Greater Baghdad. Unbuilt project. 1957-58. 34 7/8 × 52″ (88.6 × 132.1 cm). The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives. (Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Plan for Greater Baghdad. Unbuilt project. 1957-58. 34 7/8 × 52″ (88.6 × 132.1 cm). The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives. (Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

The exhibition will also delve into the the theories behind his work that relate to nature, urban planning, and social politics. Architectural drawings, models, building fragments, films, television broadcasts, print media, furniture, tableware, textiles, paintings, photographs, and scrapbooks, some never publicly seen, will be on display.



Rosenwald Foundation School (La Jolla, California). Unbuilt Project. 1928. Pencil and color pencil on tracing paper. 12 3/4 x 25 7/8” (32.4 x 65.7 cm). The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives. (Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Rosenwald Foundation School (La Jolla, California). Unbuilt Project. 1928. Pencil and color pencil on tracing paper. 12 3/4 x 25 7/8” (32.4 x 65.7 cm). The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives. (Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

The MoMA has also chosen to adopt an anthological approach to exhibiting Wright’s work, dividing it into twelve sections which will each focus on a certain object(s) selected from the Frank Lloyd Wright Archive. In this way, the object(s) can be easily contextualized and juxtaposed with other works from the FLW Archive, the MoMA, or from outside collections.

 Liberty Magazine Cover. 1926. Color pencil on paper. 24 1/2 x 28 1/4″ (62.2 x 71.8 cm). The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives. (Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)


Liberty Magazine Cover. 1926. Color pencil on paper. 24 1/2 x 28 1/4″ (62.2 x 71.8 cm). The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives. (Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

In a press release, the MoMA explained that 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.”

Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive is organized by MoMA in collaboration with the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York, and by Barry Bergdoll, Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA.



Related Stories