Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009

Frank Lloyd Wright

By David Luhrssen
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Frank Lloyd Wright grew up at the end of the horse-drawn age in rural Wisconsin, an environment that stimulated rather than stunted his imagination. When comparing the houses he designed at the turn of the 20th century to their Late Victorian neighbors, Wright looks like a visitor from the future, yet he was grounded in age-old principles. His engineering was poetry. His buildings are made from the material of the land they sit on and are meant to complement the environment, not dominate.

Frank Lloyd Wright and his Inner Circle: A Grandson’s View consists of a series of interviews (illustrated by archival photos and home movies) conducted by Wisconsin documentary filmmaker Bob Leff with Brandoch Peters. In the last in a series of tragedies that dogged the great architect and his circle, Peters’ mother and brother were killed in 1946 when their jeep left the road near Wright’s Spring Green compound. With his father working long hours with the Taliesin Fellowship, Peters was raised primarily by the strong-willed Wright and his last wife, the profoundly spiritual Olgivanna.

The lessons they imparted were practical: hatred is a waste of human energy. Wright may never have hated anyone, but stood by the family motto of Truth Against the World and his maxim, “Love of an idea is love of God.” Peters recounts many examples of Wright’s determination to give his ideals practical form. The architects of his Fellowship were trained to construct the buildings they imagined—and had to tend the gardens, sweep the floors and cook the food at Taliesin. Wright transcended many of the arguments of Modernism. He loved form as well as function.

The DVD is available for $24, check or money order, from Video Art Productions, 2217 Goecks Court, Cottage Grove, WI 53527.

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