NEW YORK – 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 with the exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward, co-organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. On view from May 15-Aug. 23, 2009, the 50th 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, and religious and performance spaces, as well as unrealized urban mega-structures. 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 – Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward illuminates Wright’s pioneering concepts of space and reveals the architect’s continuing relevance to contemporary design.
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,” Wright said. “The room within is the great fact about building—the room to be expressed in the exterior as space enclosed.” 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.
Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum, stated, “Fifty years ago, the trajectories of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Frank Lloyd Wright became intertwined. When it opened in October 1959, the museum drew both criticism and admiration, but what was indisputable was that Wright had reinvented the art museum.” Armstrong continued, “It’s fitting that we open our 50th-anniversary celebrations with Frank Lloyd Wright.”
“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,” said Phil Allsopp, President and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the only organization established by Frank Lloyd Wright to be the repository of his life’s work and the first to bear his name.
Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward is organized in a loosely chronological order and is installed to be viewed from the rotunda floor upwards. Off the first ramp in the High Gallery is an original curtain depicting Wright’s native Wisconsin landscape from the 1952 Hillside Theater at Taliesin, Wright’s home and studio in Spring Green, Wis. On loan from Taliesin, this curtain creates the backdrop for a sound installation of recorded oral histories from the collection of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which feature the voices of clients, friends, apprentices, and architects reflecting on the revelatory experience of living and working in Wright-designed spaces.
Highlights of the exhibition include an exploded version of the Herbert Jacobs House (Madison, Wis., 1937); a mirrored model for Unity Temple; and a sectional model of Beth Sholom Synagogue (Elkins Park, Pa., 1953).