Today, I have visited at the Guggenheim Museum. It is not the blockbuster show Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting (which I saw before and loved) that I came to visit, but another, much smaller and less noticeable, quietly set in the basement of the building. Entitled “A Long-Awaited Tribute: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian House and Pavilion,” this fascinating exhibition comes to tell the story of the first museum retrospective of the American architect, which was opened on October 22, 1953 on the site where the Guggenheim Museum would eventually be built. That seminal show, "Sixty Years of Living Architecture: The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright,” opened when Wright was 86 years old, and six years before the inauguration of the Museum. For it, Wright constructed two buildings: a pavilion that hosted all the models and other material presented (images above and below), and a fully furnished, two-bedroom model Usonian house, which represented his ideal home for modest, middle-class dwellings; the two buildings were the first he constructed in NYC. I absolutely loved the images of the interior of this Usonian house, and was surprised to see some of the Usonian furniture we tend to see in design sales today (the chair below will be offered in the upcoming Design sale by Wright). In the souvenir booklet that those visited the show received, Wright described this Usonian house as, “a home for our people in the spirit in which our Democracy was conceived.” Unfortunately, the Museum does not own the photos of the interiors, so if you are intrigues, you should visit this exhibit in person.
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