Frank Lloyd Wright Exhibit Now Open at Phoenix Art Museum

Share Article

Organic Architecture for the 21st Century

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century

Wright’s concerns with materials, efficient use of space, sustainable manufacturing, attention to local environment and use of natural light mirror those of contemporary architects worldwide

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, studio and architectural campus in Scottsdale, Ariz., Phoenix Art Museum presents a major exhibition that offers a fresh perspective on the celebrated architect’s seven-decade career. Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century is the first exhibition to explore Wright and his relevance today through a survey of more than 40 projects, including his vision for the decentralized city, presented through rarely seen drawings, scale models, furniture, films and photographs. The exhibition will be on view December 18, 2011 through April 29, 2012.

Regarded by many as the greatest American architect of the 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright was a champion of organic architecture. His visionary designs emphasized use of natural materials, harmonious integration of building and landscape and high functionality. Many concepts developed in Wright’s revolutionary work are central to today’s sustainable, green architecture movement.

“Wright’s concerns with materials, efficient use of space, sustainable manufacturing, attention to local environment and use of natural light mirror those of contemporary architects worldwide,” commented James Ballinger, The Sybil Harrington Director, Phoenix Art Museum. “This exhibition provides an exciting forum for which Wright’s work can be re-examined and applied to concerns of the day. The Museum is privileged to have the opportunity to partner with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Milwaukee Art Museum to bring this exhibition to the people of Arizona.”

Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century explores the tenets of Wright’s organic architecture – appropriateness to time, place and people – from the current perspective of green building; specifically the concepts of energy, materials, site, climate, space efficiency, pre-fabricated technology, transportation and urban planning. The exhibition highlights many triumphs of Wright’s career including Unity Temple (Oak Park, Ill., 1905), Fallingwater (Mill Run, Pa., 1936), Johnson Wax Administration Building (Racine, Wis., 1936, known today as the SC Johnson Administration Building), Taliesin (Spring Green, Wis., 1911-59) and Taliesin West (Scottsdale, Ariz., 1937-59).

The design of Arizona’s own Taliesin West exemplifies Wright’s architectural philosophy. The dramatic rugged landscape of the Sonoran Desert provided the inspiration for buildings that evolve and blend with the environment. Wright first came to Arizona in 1928 as a consultant for the Arizona Biltmore hotel. He returned the following year to work on another large resort commission, setting up camp near Chandler, Ariz. This project fell victim to the financial collapse of the 1930s and it would be another seven years before Wright would return to the area to begin building a permanent residence, Taliesin West, 10 miles north of Scottsdale. Over the next 22, years he designed dozens of Arizona residential and commercial structures, some of which were never built, eight of which are still in use today. To celebrate the state’s upcoming Centennial, a special focus of the exhibition will be a large model and drawings of a new Arizona State Capitol building proposed by Wright in 1957.

“Wright’s design theories and use of materials applied to all forms of architecture, whether a family residence, an office or a large-scale community planning project. His impact and presence can still be felt throughout the Valley today through his works or by works of those he inspired. Phoenix Art Museum’s first building, constructed in 1959, was designed by Alden B. Dow, a student of Wright’s. It’s both exciting and appropriate for the Museum to host this exhibition, and I look forward to the dialogue it will create in Arizona and beyond,” commented Ballinger.

Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century is organized by Phoenix Art Museum and Milwaukee Art Museum in conjunction with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The exhibition will be on view in Phoenix Art Museum’s Steele Gallery December 18, 2011 through April 29, 2012, and is included in general Museum admission.

About Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) spent more than 70 years creating designs that revolutionized the art and architecture of the 20th century. In all, he designed 1,191 works – including houses, offices, churches, schools, libraries, bridges and museums. Of that total, 460 resulted in complete works, 384 of which still stand. Wright also designed furniture, fabrics, art glass, lamps, dinnerware, linens and graphic arts. In addition, he was a prolific writer, an educator and a philosopher. He authored 20 books and countless articles, lectured throughout the United States and in Europe, and developed a remarkable plan for decentralizing urban America that continues to be debated by scholars and writers to this day.

About Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was established by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1940 to be a cultural and educational institution and the primary conservator of his work. The Foundation owns two of Wright’s homes: Taliesin in Spring Green, Wis. and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Ariz., both Historic National Landmarks. The Foundation also owns and manages the vast Frank Lloyd Wright Archives at Taliesin West and operates the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, a continuation of the apprenticeship program Wright established in 1932.

About Phoenix Art Museum
Phoenix Art Museum is the Southwest’s premier destination for world-class visual arts. Popular international exhibitions are shown along side the Museum’s outstanding collection of more than 18,000 works of American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design. A vibrant destination for over 50 years, Phoenix Art Museum presents festivals, live performances, independent art films and educational programs that enlighten, entertain and stimulate. Visitors also enjoy PhxArtKids an interactive space for children, vibrant photography exhibitions through the Museum’s landmark partnership with the Center for Creative Photography, the lushly landscaped Sculpture Garden, dining at Arcadia Farms at Phoenix Art Museum, and shopping at The Museum Store.

Admission: $12 adults; $10 senior citizens (65+) and full-time students with ID; $5 children ages 6 to 17;

Children under 6 and Phoenix Art Museum members receive free admission. The Museum offers free general admission for everyone on Wednesday evenings, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and for First Fridays, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Some exhibitions have special admission fees.

Hours: Wednesday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday Noon to 5 p.m.; First Fridays, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Some exhibitions have special hours. The Museum is closed Mondays, Tuesdays and major holidays. The Museum Store and Arcadia Farms at Phoenix Art Museum are open during Museum hours.

To learn more about Phoenix Art Museum, visit, or call the 24-hour recorded information line at (602) 257-1222.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Mindy Riesenberg
Visit website