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Frank Lloyd Wright's wife manipulated the * lives of unwitting young proteges of the great architect of the Guggenheim Museum, forcing * and * students to have dalliances with each other and making them do manual labor on her husband's live-in utopian compound.
That's one of the many torrid revelations in "The Fellowship: The Untold Story of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship," an upcoming tell-all from Regan Books, the New York Post reports. The 704-page tome by Roger Friedland and Harold Zellman is due in bookstores Sept. 1.
Ten years in the making, the book details Mr. Wright's (1867-1959) bipolarity, his veiled anti-Semitism and his love-hate relationship with *. He called them "pansies" and "degenerates" but surrounded himself with them in the 1930s at his reclusive Arizona colony, Taliesin, where studly apprentices roamed the grounds in bathing attire and harem costumes. The book also describes scenes there of nervous breakdowns, drug usage, shady business dealings and interactions with flaky mystics. It also tragically chronicles how Mr. Wright's drug-addicted daughter, Iovanna, tried to kill his wife twice -- once with a meat cleaver -- and ended up in a mental asylum.
Roderick Grant wrote:This is the book I have been waiting for.
Yes! If properly documented, it has been long overdue (could only be rivaled by the Taliesin HSR!).
Enough is known to assume there is considerably more. Not much about Frank would really surprise me, at least he was arguably the greatest architect in history independent of his failings as a person.
Ernest...er...Olga can only look more pathetic.
Or Aaron Green (if he were alive).
Or Edgar Kaufmann (if he were alive).
FLlW was not an anti-semite. An egomaniac, certainly. But not an anti-semite.
As for "making [the apprentices] do manual labor on her husband's live-in utopian compound," well, we all knew that.
Those gifted apprentices who understood Wright's vision would go off on their own, graciously, I might add, and concentrate on the Architecture.
These individuals who truely wanted to concentrate on Architecture while at the Taliesins were in fact able to do this. Case in point, the many years Bob Beharka was at Taliesin, including the Olga 1960's years, he never once ever performed a movement, dance, ditty, etc....When I asked how he did this.....He simply said, I just made myself busy in the drafting room with the seniors. he was able to avoid the Olga things that detracted from Architecture. His talents were recognized early by Wright, and spend a lot of time supervising building construction. He made the Taliesin experience work for him. Even with his last bout with Olga, even does not hold a grudge. He said he was never interviewed for this "tell all" book.
I have to concentrate on my own architecture now, I will add more tonite.
Those who lacked talent and understanding, tend to hold a long grudge, pointing blame elsewhere for their own shortcomings. We hear the stories, but lets review what they have accomplished in Architecture. Very little indeed.
As far as Besinger, his beef was with Olgavanna, and if he was unable to continue at Taliesin on his own terms, then of course he should go.
I really dont care so much about the Olgavanna stories. If an apprentice or anyone else followed her visions then they deserve what ever it is they received in the end. While I respect the work of Besinger, I feel he must have had some issues on a personal level that disabled his potential. Besingers' primary issues were with Olgavanna's side of things, and not the Wright side of things. His efforts with Johnnie Hill and Elizabeth Gordon at House Beautiful were part of Wrights bigger vision to spread the word.
My main point being, those who approached the Wrights on their own terms gained much more from the Taliesin experience than those who were and still are simple followers. Jim, I believed we have discussed this very topic in regard to Aaron Green before.
rightwaswright wrote:It would be interesting to hear what Edgar Tafel thinks about that.
Read "About Wright"; Tafel is more than respectful, but chronicles Olga's negative impact on the Fellowship starting immediately after Franks death.
Read "Working with Mr. Wright"; Bessinger (one of the most competent apprentices) can barely contain his contempt for Olga and Iovanna.
Read "Picturing Wright"; Guerrero has little good to say about his experience with Olga.
and on and on....
I didn't know her, so obviously have no place or reason to speak with authority, but there is plenty in the public record that places her and Iovanna directly to blame for just about all the eventual ills of the Fellowship, especially the emasculation and cult-like devotion demanded of any talent that remained and allowed themselves to be abused for so long.
It is not voyeurism, but of interest only with regards to Wrights legacy that suffered after his death. I can't wait for this book.
Those who lacked talent and understanding, tend to hold a long grudge, pointing blame elsewhere for their own shortcomings. We hear the stories, but lets what you accomplished. Nothing.
Rather a broad stroke, there, don't you think?
Olga was savvy enough to know that although mysticism and movements were her priority and there were enough willing to "dance and ditty", work also had to get done in the drafting room. Bob Beharka's experience is not really surprising, since it's also hard to picture Wes doin' that movement thang!
Sorry, don't quite connect what "but lets what you accomplished. Nothing." means.
Now, a question for those of you in the know: How many current Fellowship members are there? How old are they on average? Any young members? How many of them have anything to do with architecture? What do the non-architecture fellows do with their time? It would seem to me that they would be pretty useless.