Friday, January 28, 2011

From Milwaukee to Paris (Hilton)

Another major Wright exhibition - Frank Lloyd Wright:  Organic Architecture for the 21st Century - opens in a few weeks at the Milwaukee Art Museum and, once again, this survey of Wright's work features a "Tree of Life" window from the Darwin D. Martin House.

The unique "Tree of Life" window from the MAM
This particular example of the famed window from the Martin House, from the Museum's collection, is a relatively rare variation:  one of only two from the west elevation of the second floor where the familiar "Tree" motif is compressed to produce rectangular "pots" at the bottom, rather than square.  The MHRC holds the other example of this member of the "Tree of Life" family.

As outstanding an example of Wright's art glass design as this window may be, I'm tempted to make a blasphemous association (but Wright himself was known for creative blasphemy, so bear with me):  the "Tree of Life" art glass pattern may have something in common with celebutante Paris Hilton - both are, to some extent, famous for being famous.  

Pick yourself up off the floor, Wrightophiles; what I mean to say is this: the exquisite aesthetic qualities of the Martin windows aside, they have been collected and exhibited so widely by art museums partly because everybody else was doing it.  If the Corning Museum of Glass, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Australia and twelve other prominent institutions all have examples of "Tree of Life" windows, they must be the best, right?

Also, both the "Tree of Life" window and Paris Hilton have their own sense of "bling," but that's another matter...

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