Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe architecture critic Robert Campbell will be making the keynote talk on April 28 at the Milwaukee Art Museum, when the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, in partnership with Taliesin Preservation, Inc., will co-host a reception as part of the centennial celebration of Taliesin.
Campbell grew up in Buffalo, where Wright designed four structures, including the Larkin Building. He considers the architect a strong contender as America’s greatest artist.
“He was good at everything – materials, spaces, light, procession, architecture and landscape, inside and outside,” Campbell said. “He wrote dozens of books, read the works of Emerson and Whitman, and played musical instruments.”
Moreover, Wright was one of America’s leading dealers in Japanese prints, selling his own when he needed the money — which evidently, was often.
In American architecture, he did away with the attic and the basement in the homes he designed. His residences dealt with the tension between prospect and refuge, of looking up high but also deeply within. “There was always a fireplace,” Campbell said. “He was always working at making a home, perhaps because his father had left his family early.”
He was also strongly committed to local materials, using native stone at Taliesin East, as well as unpainted plaster walls that were left a natural buff. He did, however, import redwood for Taliesin West.
He never stopped building at either, and continuously experimented with the two residences and the landscape in which they were located. “He made both into abstractions of the landscape,” Campbell said. “Taliesin East was about the forest, and Taliesin West was about tents. He was making straight lines and geometrical right angles – creating abstractions where the landscape is not abstracted.”
For more on the reception, go to http://www.taliesinpreservation.org/2011-centennial/2011-centennial-events
For more on the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, go to http://www.franklloydwright.org
Photos by Judith Bromley and Kate Chelsey