“At MoMA, Frank Lloyd Wright’s work will be in conversation with great modern artists and architects such as Picasso, Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier,” said Barry Bergdoll, the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA in a statement. “This collaboration provides opportunities to reposition Wright as a key figure in the larger development of modern art and architecture, after decades of scholarship that have often emphasized his lone genius and his unique Americanness. A new chapter in appreciating Wright is opened by this new setting for his legacy.”
Many of the models in the archive were produced for a Wright retrospective held at MoMA in 1940. Through Avery, Wright’s papers and drawings will be widely accessible to scholars, as well as available for curricular use at Columbia.
Architectural archives are famously unwieldy, and MoMA has been reticent to acquire them. The Modern owns the Mies van der Rohe archive, but typically only takes presentation drawings and high quality models into its collection. The partnership model could pave the way for more successful scholarship on and display and interpretation of the complex process of making great architecture.