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12/1959 " What Wright Hath Wrought" by Lewis Mumfo

 
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Modmom1



Joined: 03 Dec 2017
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:01 pm    Post subject: 12/1959 " What Wright Hath Wrought" by Lewis Mumfo Reply with quote

December 5, 1959 Issue


What Wright Hath Wrought

Frank Lloyd Wright’s radical designs.
By Lewis Mumford

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1959/12/05/what-wright-hath-wrought

Came across this on twitter and thought you all would enjoy it. I'm wondering if Mr Mumford held on to the views expressed in this critique or was it a first reaction to a very unusual sculptural building?

We were just there for the Giacometti exhibit and I find the design to allow both intimate viewings of the pieces as well as views from many different perspectives. I had thought more galleries were not done in this design because of cost.
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Paul Ringstrom



Joined: 17 Sep 2005
Posts: 3932
Location: Mason City, IA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lewis Mumford and Wright were friends. There is even a book published of their correspondence (https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Lloyd-Wright-Lewis-Mumford/dp/1568982917/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534726607&sr=1-1&keywords=Lewis+Mumford+Frank+Lloyd+Wright).

But, I feel would not have remained friendly after this review of his final masterwork.

Of interest: https://www.amazon.com/Wright-Language-Organic-Architecture-blueprint/dp/B07F93H5CY/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1534726607&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=Lewis+Mumford+Frank+Lloyd+Wright

Product Description
Typescript Signed and Inscribed, "To Lewis F. L.Wright," with usual hurried last name appearing like a "WT," 11 pages, 8.5" x 11", ,Taliesin, February 1953, an essay, typed at Wright's studio at Taliesin West with his unmistakable type face and spacing ,inviting the possibility that Wright typed this himself,, entitled "THE LANGUAGE OF ORGANIC ARCHITECTURE," and inscribed by Wright to New Yorker architectural critic Lewis Mumford, who adds a pencil notation at the top left of page one: "Feb 1953." Some minor edge wear, light toning at margins, two staple holes at top left, else fine condition. "The Language of Organic Architecture" is perhaps the most succinct elucidation of Wright's architectural philosophy. It lays out nine terms ,but really principles, that defined what he termed "Organic ,or intrinsic, architecture," which he considered "the free Architecture of idea DEMOCRACY." Wright's "nine-word lexicon," that he found helpful to "defend and explain whatever I have myself written on the subject," included: "NATURE," "ORGANIC," "FORM FOLLOWSFUNCTION," ROMANCE," "TRADITION," "ORNAMENT," "SPIRIT," "THIRD DIMENSION," and "SPACE." Wright offers a brief comment after each, observing how each term had been abused. ,For instance, after "FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION," he complains that "Too many foolish stylistic constructions are placed upon the slogan."
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16027
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might as well repeat here what I just came across in the notes to the first section of the Weltzheimer publication [Allen Memorial Art Museum (Oberlin College) Bulletin, Volume XLIX, Number 1 (1995)]:

"In an organic architecture the ground itself predetermines all features; the climate modifies them; available means limit them; function shapes them."

"Broadacre City: A New Community Plan," Architectural Record 77 [April 1935], p 247.


Also, the interior woodwork at Weltzheimer was remembered as three coats of "clear shellac" followed by three coats of wax . . .

SDR
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SREcklund



Joined: 26 Feb 2013
Posts: 732
Location: Redondo Beach, CA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul Ringstrom wrote:
Of interest: https://www.amazon.com/Wright-Language-Organic-Architecture-blueprint/dp/B07F93H5CY/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1534726607&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=Lewis+Mumford+Frank+Lloyd+Wright

Product Description
Typescript Signed and Inscribed, "To Lewis F. L.Wright," with usual hurried last name appearing like a "WT," ... he complains that "Too many foolish stylistic constructions are placed upon the slogan."


I have the book, and I'm going to scour it tonight hoping this letter is amongst its pages, as the first three pages lead one to believe it's a classic ...
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"Youth is a circumstance you can't do anything about. The trick is to grow up without getting old." - Frank Lloyd Wright
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Rood



Joined: 30 Oct 2010
Posts: 992
Location: Goodyear, AZ 85338

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe FLLW and Mumford had a falling out of sorts, about war ... particularly after Mumford's only son, Geddes, was killed in Italy in 1944.

"To deal with devastating grief over the loss of his son in combat during World War II, Lewis Mumford recorded his memories of life with his boy in this memoir. Geddes Mumford was only nineteen when he died on September 13, 1944, while assaulting German positions on the Gothic Line in North Italy. Adding futility to tragedy, the Germans never were successfully dislodged from North Italy, and only gave it up upon the full German surrender of May 1945.

"While his book (Green Memories: The Story of Geddes Mumford- c. 1947) has no content regarding Lewis Mumford's social theories, the death of his son in the war transformed Mumford's work in a significantly darker direction. His opus magnum two-volume work from the late 1960s, Myth of the Machine, could not have happened without this death of his only son and the watershed effect it had upon Mumford's life and work. (As a literary aside, during the big push on the Gothic Line of September 12-15 that took Geddes Mumford's life, Joseph Heller, author of the classic novel Catch-22, was flying overhead on tactical bombing missions against the same German positions.)"
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