is everywhere - it lies beneath the surface of things and even in
chaos it emerges. The art is often in the discernment of the
A little over two weeks ago, on October 30th,
the Guggenheim celebrated the restoration of the Frank Lloyd
Commissioned in the 1940s to design a museum
to display the modern art of painters like Klee and Mondrian, Wright
was asked to come up with something unlike any other museum in the
world. What he did, and brilliantly, was to take the rigid lines
of Modernism and mold it into something organic - overlapping
geometric pattern with patterns from nature. The floor plan owes
everything to Euclidean geometry, but the very form of the spiral
building is influenced by the nautilus shell and like a snail's
shell the museum's interior is one large space with a ramp that
winds around the sides. And looking down at it all is the spider's
web that marks the skylight of the roof.
The nature photography
of Karl Blossfeldt influenced many architects and designers of the
time and perhaps had some influence on Wright. Blossfeldt's
photographs of plants revealed the beauty and intricacy of patterns in nature
and he used them in his classes at a Berlin college to study the
relationship between nature and architecture - pattern in nature
as a basis in the creation of the motif and as a design element.
His photographs are in simple gray tones - the focus is on
structure and pattern - and nature is reduced to abstraction.
Guggenheim is a study in circles, arcs and triangles that echo
each other throughout the design of the building in the smallest
detail and also become a part of the spiral and the spider's web.
The layering of pattern from geometry and pattern from nature is
not only an overlap but the harmonious melding of both.
there is a different type of pattern overlapping these two
patterns - a site-specific installation of illuminated text by
Jenny Holzer on the façade to commemorate the completion of a
three-year restoration. Her text, a pattern of its own, streams
down the façade in bold white letters incorporating the poetry of Polish
Nobel-prize winner Wislawa Szymborska and political
epigrams. On view from sunset until 11 p.m. on Friday evenings
through the end of the year, with a special show on New Year's
speaking, pattern is everything!
Frank, a novel, Nancy Horan
Lloyd Wright in New York, Hession, Pickrel
new york buildings