Saturday, July 27, 2013

Select Passages from "Frank Lloyd Wright - A Life" by Ada Louise Huxtable

"Why", you ask?
Because I said so.

"For the artist, the focus on self, on personal development and artistic destiny, is a drive that excludes everything else. Normally endowed people living normal lives see it as inexcusable selfishness. Wright possessed more than the usual quota of talent and narcissism." 
"Those who change the course of art use any means to convince the world that it needs something it neither anticipates nor understands and rarely wants. Artistic achievement is in large part a function of will; it is rarely a function of character. Critics and writers intent on exposing and condemning lapses in behavior and judgment have turned themselves inside out trying to separate personal morality from the art produced. In the end, it is the art that endures.
"And while it is generally known that a writer transforms experience into art, it is less well understood that an architect processes images in much the same way. Instead of reinventing the fabric of life as narrative, like the novelist, the architect is preoccupied with the look and nature of things in the physical world and how they translate into built form." 
"Architects are not idle in fallow periods - they dream and draw. There is a whole body of work called visionary architecture produced at these times; it ranges from futuristic fantasies to cosmic city schemes. It demonstrates the best and worst of the architectural mind-set - the soaring imagination of the artist, unrestricted by real limitations and conditions, producing designs of great beauty and originality, and the brilliant, often inhuman, socially naive ideas of the utopian planner imposing a rigid physical order on the environment meant to sweep away the mess and ugliness of ordinary lives and places. It is easy to be carried away by the idealized logic of the theoretical urbanism presented in handsome drawings and impressive models, and architects tend to become attached to these ideas with a messianic intensity. But what often appears so attractively reasonable is totally unrelated to the political, social and economic forces that are the true architects of cities.
"Wright presented the classic dilemma of the great artist - large in his art, but small in his attitudes - a phenomenon that has always puzzled those who persist in believing that the human dimension should match the artist's creative gifts. They rarely do; character and creativity run on separate tracks. Wright was as vulnerable to bad action and bad judgment as any ordinary mortal."

The artist cannot help himself when it comes to self-expression, morals be damned.

There is sometimes a thin line between the rudimentary and reactive mere mortality that rules the masses and the eternal art-infused aggrandized genius few possess: the latter tends to effusively sail against the current, more so because their thought is infused with vision, while the former sail through life and are subject only to its natural volatility.

Wright certainly enjoyed the ride.

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