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Wright 1920s L.A.

 
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5870
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:00 am    Post subject: Wright 1920s L.A. Reply with quote

Must see...

I’m not sure that I buy his narrow thesis, and there is much left out, but this is not to be missed.

https://www.linktv.org/shows/artbound/episodes/that-far-corner-frank-lloyd-wright-in-los-angeles
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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 1397

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the better documentaries and a joy sitting through without needing to throw something at the tube. Would never consider getting into Frank's mind, but if not overt, there's undoubtedly a common thread with his state of mind and his architecture after Mamah's death as well as other factors. I think there might have been a subtle suggestion of a desire to still find find beauty (life?), which is inherent in the work, juxtaposed with the oft-suggested "brutality" (death?) of the LA work... a relationship with Mayan death rituals notwithstanding.

The cinematography and visual conveyance of the work featured is some of the best ever done. The buildings come to life in a way that almost decimated the entire thesis of the documentary!... but perhaps not completely.

I think the segment with Sweeney took place in Schindler's Kings Road house? The documentary can also be found on YouTube.
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5870
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was the Schindler Kings Road house, yes.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8669

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hawthorne's 3 principal theses are wrong. The block houses did not arise out of the gloom of Mamah's death. The loss of Taliesin was as traumatic as the loss of Mamah, and he started rebuilding as soon as he could. Three months after her death, he hooked up with Miriam Noel for a decade. The houses weren't designed until 9 years after Mamah's death, an opportunity he had long awaited. Moreover, he didn't completely abandon the scheme, but reinvented it with the Usonian Automatic houses of the 50s.

FLW designed his first concrete block house in 1906 for Harry Brown, and the famous Fireproof House of poured reinforced concrete in 1907. His first use of geometric patterned block was Midway Garden, completed a year before the San Diego event with its pre-Columbian exhibits. That he saw the books published in the 1840s may or may not have been the case, mere supposition. As easy as it is to see Aztec in Millard, Storer and Ennis, the pattern of Freeman would be hard to find in Mesoamerica.

It was the Barnsdall commission, which was begun as a project for Chicago, where he met Aline (and her cohort Norman Bel-Geddes) in 1915, that brought FLW to Los Angeles. He saw opportunity in LA, as much to make a good living as to get away from the provincialism of the Midwest. He kicked off his new career, which he had sought for 10 years, with 5 houses he felt were suitable to the site, not as memorials to Mamah. The effort didn't pay off, so he left. Whether the houses are funereal or not, is up to one's personal taste. Robert Sweeney says they were not residential, as he sat in the Schindler/Chase House. That they differ from the ordinary should not be a criticism. They are all delightful.

Hawthorne reached to come up with a story. I don't buy it.
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DavidC



Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 6594
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frank Lloyd Wright's Textile Block Houses and the Maya Revival


David
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Reidy



Joined: 07 Jan 2005
Posts: 1449
Location: Northern CA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was that story about a 1915 California visit true? I'd never heard it.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16388
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lloyd's first credits, for landscape design in Pasadena and Beverly Hills, date to 1915. He had arrived in San Diego in in the fall of 1911 as an employee
of Olmsted and Olmsted, to work on the very Pan-Pacific Exposition mentioned in the video, set to open in 1915. Brother Joh acocmpanied
Lloyd to the West, according to the Thomas Hines essay in Weintraub's monograph of Lloyd.

Wright would have had to pass through California to get to Tokyo, at San Francisco. Could he not have made a trip to the south on one of those trips ?


The scholar's marching orders -- "Publish !" -- drive revisionist and/or passé history-writing, along with fresh and pertinent material, perhaps in even
numbers ? I don't know. But when we get to the claim that concrete isn't "naturally" a material lending itself to unit construction (concluding with the
admission that the concrete block is virtually omnipresent, today), we want to pause the tape to consider . . .

I really do tire of the assertion that Mr Wright was staring at reproductions of Mayan-ruin photos and drawings, when he designed the California houses.
It's just a little too pat and obvious. To me it's yet another example of grasping for the nearest life preserver when the befuddled critic is plunged
into the unknown depths of work like Wright's.

Nevertheless, I'll press forward. The photography is enjoyable; there are already a couple of screen grabs I have to make, on a second viewing.

SDR
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Rood



Joined: 30 Oct 2010
Posts: 1009
Location: Goodyear, AZ 85338

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most everything was designed to fulfill the fellow's pre-conceived idea of what was in Mr. Wright's mind, following the tragic events of August, 1914.

I waited in vain for a mention of the truly poetic union of building and landscape, as illustrated by the Doheny Ranch Project from 1923. Far too often what we were given, instead, were views down long, gloomy hallways, closed doors, and thoughts of death.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8669

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR, for his many trips to and from Tokyo, FLW embarked and debarked in Seattle, not San Francisco. Kathryn Smith did the research, published in the June 1985 issue of The Art Bulletin.

FLW's first trip to California was not before 1915, and it may not have been until later, I don't know precisely, but either way, it had to do with Aline Barnsdall's commission. Aline bought Olive Hill in 1919, so construction did not begin before that.
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