Frank Lloyd Wright. The Guggenheim Museum. What do they have in common? Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Guggenheim Museum. Okay, we know that. But another thing they have in common is that I thought they were both neat, but was feeling over both of them. You see, I'm from Oak Park, that's where Wright had his home and studio, living in Oak Park you see a lot of Frank Lloyd Wright houses, you hear a lot of Frank Lloyd Wright talk, you show your visitors a few of the houses, you feel some pride...but, yawn, you know? A little over it. Nice houses, yes. Let's move on. Same with the Guggenheim: truly iconic, extremely photographical. Pretty much impossible to walk by it without taking a picture. You visit it, you walk up the windy ramp, you take a ton of pictures from the main floor...but, yawn, you know? Pretty over it. It's something to see but how many times can you see it? And if you want me to go inside, it better have something pretty cool inside, right?
Well, let me tell you something: Now I'm totally about Frank Lloyd Wright and I'm totally about the Guggenheim. There's this new exhibit there called "Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward", an exhaustingly exhaustive exhibition on Wright featuring his designs, new models based on those designs, old models based on those designs, and totally unexpected things like a theater curtain he designed. I guess what I was sick of, re:FLW, was seeing his houses and being told who they were built for and when they were built. But what it turns out I've got near boundless energy for is looking at his drawing and designs. And the drawings of houses of his that I was well familiar with was good and well, but my favorite things to see were projects of his that never got built.
- The Donahoe Triptich (there were more and better pictures at the show)
- The Automobile Objective and Planetarium
- This apartment building that was going to be on St Marks Place
As you reach the top of the Guggenheim you finally get to the history of the construction of the museum and by then it's exciting. The very last thing in the exhibit is a bit of wall text with a picture of Frank Lloyd Wright inside the Guggenheim looking it over while it's under construction and looking at that picture I realized, "Wow. Wait. That picture was taken right where I stand." Suddenly, after looking at his work all afternoon, it's you and him on top of the museum. To me, this was striking.
This exhibit will wear you out (it might as well be Epcot there's so much to see) but I give it a major thumbs up.