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Excluded from this transfer will be the historic furnishings at Taliesin and Taliesin West, including the art collection, all memorabilia etc.
Oscar Munoz will transfer to and will be employed by Columbia University to administer and manage this action.
Although I am personally troubled to see such a collection leave Arizona and the direct control of BBP, I understand the reasoning for such action. To my mind, there would be no archive, without the unceasing dedication of Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer and those who supported him; Oscar, Indira, Margo, et al...
I am sure this will be addressed in future communications.
Again, I do not like to see this material-resource leave Arizona, however the archives were terribly underfunded and understaffed for the task of preserving and administering over 350,000 individual pieces.
This indeed was BBP's life work and would not have existed or even developed to its present state without his dedication.
A complete press release will be issued tomorrow- Tuesday.
The truth is that Bruce is no longer able to get around easily, and he and the Board were becoming concerned about the ultimate disposition of the archives, and who would manage them into the distant future ... even after Oskar.
Nevertheless it's almost like a death in the family. Sobering. We can only hope that MOMA and the Avery Library will treat the collection with half the love and devotion that Bruce gave to it.
I thought it had been lost or destroyed a long time ago.
It seems as though it is a positive move. Conservation and hopefully greater access. Although, I have been interested in studying a drawing of the Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth house and have been told by MOMA that the only way to see a better image of it, one has to come to the museum. Certainly not the most convenient proposition for the amateur scholar.
After nearly two years of expert study of the future of the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives and Collections and of the options available (including an exhaustive assessment of the viability of building and endowing state-of-the-art facilities on site), the Board has voted to enter into a Partnership with Avery Library at Columbia University and the Museum of Modern Art in New York â€“ for joint stewardship of the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives. We are entering into this agreement with my full support.
I hope you understand our need to have maintained confidentiality about this new Partnership before it was successfully negotiated â€“ why I was not able to share the news with you until there was a completed agreement and we were contractually allowed to tell even our closest insiders and friends. But given your close connection to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and in particular the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives, it was deeply important to me that you hear from me directly, explaining why this Partnership is so vitally important to the preservation of the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. The news becomes public tomorrow, and it was important to me and to everyone here at the Foundation that I tell you first.
Under this agreement, all of the drawings, manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and historic models will be transferred to the permanent collections of the Avery Library at Columbia University and the Museum of Modern Art, who can together ensure that this national treasure is maintained to the highest standards and presented to the wide audience it deserves. The Foundation will continue to hold the Intellectual Property rights to everything Frank Lloyd Wright ever created â€“ including all copyrights, trademarks, licensing rights, etc. This Partnership relates solely to the Archives. It does not related to any of the historic furnishings, art collections, and memorabilia that interpret and furnish the sites of Taliesin and Taliesin West. All of that, and more, will remain with the Foundation, exactly where it is.
After considerable exploration, research, and consideration, we confidently chose the Museum of Modern Art and Avery Library at Columbia University as the most appropriate partners (of all of our choices worldwide) to ensure the safety, accessibility, and impact of the Archives in perpetuity. The Avery Library and the Museum of Modern Art will promote and enhance a deep public awareness of Wright's work, and through that exposure a deeper understanding of the principles and values Wright promulgated nearly one hundred years ago.
The terms of the Partnership guarantee that the Foundation will always have a meaningful and visible role in the stewardship of the Archives and models. In addition to retaining full Intellectual Property rights, equal representation from the three institutions will make up a Steering Committee relating to the Archives and to broader efforts relating to Wrightâ€™s impact and legacy. In addition, the collection will be permanently named â€œThe Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York),â€� with that credit line used in all exhibitions, publications, and any other references to the Archives.
The materials will include family and community records, school records through 1959, and the Taliesin Architects Archives â€“ meaning that all work and documentation created in the Taliesin Fellowship will sit alongside Wrightâ€™s work in perpetuity, conserved to the same standards.
Many of you are aware that Wright addressed his apprentices at Taliesin West in 1951, saying that â€œWhatever disposition is made of my drawings, I intended them to be kept at Taliesin.â€� Some of you may also know that he made that statement in direct response to Arthur Kauffman and others trying (but, fortunately, failing) to install his Archives in Philadelphia against his will, and giving him no say in how they would be preserved or shared. In any event, it is clear that, in 1951, Wright could not have imagined the expansion and growth of the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives as it has become today â€“ a collection that is so much more than just the drawings. Obviously, what he earnestly desired was the preservation of his work. This Partnership fulfills that desire.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has always undertaken, and will continue to undertake, the responsibility of maintenance and conservation of two National Historic Landmark sites â€“ Taliesin in Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Arizona â€“ and all of their historic furnishings, art, and artifacts. Personally, I am relieved and grateful that the delicate and irreplaceable paper Archives and models are being transferred to world-class conservation environments, with world-class infrastructure and support for access, and in a highly visible Partnership with two of the most renowned and influential institutions in the world.
I am pleased to share that Oskar Muňoz, who has worked alongside me so closely, is being offered a position at Columbia University in New York, to continue and expand upon his work with these Archives. (The position is being permanently named â€œin honor of Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer,â€� which is quite moving.) Margo Stipe, Elizabeth Dawsari, Indira Berndtson, Tom Waddell, and I will all continue to work for the Foundation â€“ serving as a resource for The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York), and â€“ in a variety of ways â€“ focusing attention on the important collection of furnishings, art, and artifacts at Taliesin and Taliesin West. The Partnership sees our stewardship of these Taliesin Collections as essential to the preservation of a comprehensive record, and the Foundation is committed to enhancing the standard of their conservation, presentation and care.
The Foundation will have full access to the Archives for anything we need to successfully carry out our programs, communications, research, licensing, or any other activity we undertake in pursuit of our mission. Avery Library is dedicated to public, scholarly, and institutional access to the drawings, and the Museum of Modern Art is already planning two important exhibitions. The agreement also includes assurances that the Archives will not be split up, sold, or otherwise inappropriately deaccessioned. The first transfer of materials â€“ drawings and other materials â€“ will likely take place this coming fall, with additional work and transfers continuing for several years.
For me, as you might imagine, this is very personal. These Archives have been my lifeâ€™s work â€“ a part of me for nearly 50 years. Candidly, at first, this was a most difficult decision. But when I stepped back and looked even 10-15 years ahead, I became sincerely excited about this Partnership. It is the best thing for the Archives, and it is the best thing for the legacy and impact of Frank Lloyd Wright.
With kindest personal regards,
Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer,
Director, The Frank Lloyd Wright Archives
I have seen statements in the past that the Wright archive is the largest single assemblage of records and artifacts devoted to a single artist in the world. If that is correct, it should have been noted by the Times, rather than simply say it will take its place next to the files of Mies, et. al. Proportion is also part of the news.
I share Bruce's relief that this treasure will be housed in wealthy, solid institutions whose secure future never is in doubt.
Arthur C. Kaufman of Philadelphia and Edgar J. Kaufman of Pittsburgh were cousins.
Is it a mistake worth noting, rather pointedly I might add, that one of our long time and very knowledgeable posters inadvertantly misspelled someone's name in their posts here?
FYI, "m.perrino" has been associated with TWest for a number of years, brings a lot to this forum, and probably even knows Oskar (I'm pretty sure I spelled that right).
If you are upset with the story in the NY Times, that's fine, but please don't take it out on the members of this forum. And as a reporter, I would expect you to do a better job of checking your facts before you write something. It was one poster who made this terrible mistake in two posts, not as you say "the rest of you", whatever that means.
I'm sorry, but your remark struck me the wrong way. Now I am through, but not before I run a spell check on this post.
By the way, and with no blame attached, Edgar is spelled Kaufmann.