Neither Cuno nor his appointed curator of architecture, Joseph Rosa, wound up sticking around for long. Cuno now heads up the Getty; Rosa, the University of Michigan Museum of Art. The logo endures, but the commitment to Wright has its limits. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation announced Tuesday that the massive Wright archives, currently split between the two Wright homes, Taliesen in Wisconsin, and Taliesen West in Arizona, have now been acquired in a partnership between Columbia University and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Art Institute passed on Frank Lloyd Wright Collection. Kapos reports that the museum wanted to pick and choose what it wanted (Prairie School related, it appears) from the massive collection of 23,000 drawings, 44,000 photos, 300,000 (!) letters, models, furniture, and a partridge in a ginko tree.
On one level, the Art Institute's decision is understandable. I vaguely remember Rosa and/or Cuno talking about how the AIC was going to be more selective in its architectural acquisitions, and how the blunderbuss approach of accepting the entire output of architectural firms had tended to clog up the storerooms with a lot of stuff no one, quite possibly, was ever going to look at again. There are, after all, only so many Bertrand Goldbergs in the world.
Still, we're talking about Frank Lloyd Wright here, the most blue chip brand in American architecture. (If you don't believe me, check out the coasters, door mats, baseball caps and condoms on the Shop Wright website.) If they've passed on Wright, will we ever see the Art Institute acquire a major architect's archives again? Is Cuno's concept of the Art Institute as an encyclopedic museum mutating, where architecture is concerned, into an abridged version?
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation announcement video below . . .