Friday, February 8, 2008

Great Lives: Frank Lloyd Wright

Tonight I went to Mary Washington to attend the lecture on Frank Lloyd Wright, part of the “Great Lives” series. The speaker was Meryle Secrest, author of Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography. I’m familiar with Wright’s work, and have toured his home and studio in Oak Park, Illinois, and visited both the Unity Temple (the church Wright designed for his own Unitarian congregation) and the Guggenheim in New York. The presentation was pretty straightforward, not unlike a typical college lecture. I was surprised at how large a crowd this event attracted—I don’t know if all of the lectures are so well-attended, or if Wright is a particularly popular subject, but the auditorium was filled. The lecture was an overview of Wright’s work, including his family background, early influences and major projects, with plenty of attention paid to his at times scandalous private life. The lecture wasn’t particularly dynamic—the speaker read her presentation, the audio equipment (or maybe the room's acoustics?) didn't produce a very crisp sound, and that combined with the speaker's British accent made it a bit hard to understand her at times. And while there was a screen set up for a slide presentation, the number of slides she showed was relatively small. Nonetheless, it was an opportunity to hear a respected author speak on a topic of interest, and it was a pleasant evening out.

If you’re interested, the next presentation will be on Ella Fitzgerald, Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Dodd Auditorium. If you want a seat near the front, I suggest you get there early. For the complete schedule of Great Lives lectures, check here.

Here are a few of Wright’s most influential works:

Wright's home and studio in Oak Park, IL (1889), where he lived with his wife and 6 kids...until he left them.

The Robie House in Chicago (1908-1910), one of the best known examples of the Prairie style of architecture.

Taliesin, Wright's home in Spring Green, WI (1911)

Everyone's favorite Wright design, Fallingwater in southwestern Pennsylvania (1934-37). This is definitely on my list of places I want to see.

The Guggenheim Museum in NYC (1959), designed by Wright when he was 91 years old.

For more information, visit the website of the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.


Head Fred said...

Just to let you know that the next next one is actually Ella Fitzgerald this coming Tuesday. I went to last week's lecture on TR, which was great and quite well-attended. These lectures are great for the community and the endowment for them has made them even better.

The full schedule is here.

Merry N said...

Thanks for the info! I've updated the post with the link you provided.