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DIY Frank Lloyd Wright
From the Isthmus archives, Aug. 26, 1988

Ron McCrea writes about "Frank Lloyd Wright and Madison," the largest exhibition ever mounted by the Elvehjem Museum of Art. Noting the "long, stormy and sometimes ardent relationship between Wright and this city," McCrea says the famous architect "designed for Madison in every decade of his career and...used his Madison commissions as a laboratory for technical innovations such as beneath-the-floor heating, structural innovations such as the carport, and market innovations such as the do-it-yourself designer home." McCrea hails exhibit curator Mary Jane Hamilton, the State Historical Society's Jack Holzhueter and other collaborators for sleuthing out a plethora of discoveries. In a provocative sidebar, Brendan Gill, the New Yorker architecture critic and Wright biographer, throws a wet blanket on exaltation of Wright, telling McCrea that the roof of Wright's celebrated Unitarian Meeting House is "overbearing" and observing with regards to Wright's plans for Monona Terrace that "if you'd seen that goddamned big thing obliterating how many hundred feet of shoreline, it would not have seemed to marry nature in the way Wright said it would." Recently retired as an editor for The Capital Times, McCrea is now working on a book about the women who advanced Wright's career.

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