Frank Lloyd Wright: Myth & Murder

DATELINE: Einstein of Architecture

With 400 buildings to his fifty year career, the self-styled genius of American architecture makes for a compelling hour streaming biography, entitled Wright: Murder, Myth, and Modernism.

His own foibles, constant and steady bad choices when it came to women companions, Wright’s life nearly was derailed by his scandal and the penance. He liked the wives of clients as lovers.

A servant murdered his common law wife, other servants, children, and burned down his Taliesin in Wisconsin.  Instead of being destroyed, he girded his powers and re-built. 

The prairie houses of Oak Park must have looked like spaceships landing in the suburbs. His organic houses were stunning, warm, and you better like living in the designer’s mind. Wright designed furniture and also the grounds.

After the murders, he found his professional life drying up. He became more inward and reclusive. It’s not a good style for a man who depends on social connections to have projects.

By 1930 he was broke and without clients. So, he created a mythology in an autobiography that became a best-seller. Yet, the Depression did not ease up—and he dropped another bipolar wife and found a woman 30 years younger. She urged him to use self-promotion.

His idiosyncratic dress and demeanor helped build his own architecture school—and students were slave labor, and slavish devotees.

It was not until he built a house over a waterfall that he returned to public acclaim. Falling Water was recreation in a nutshell.

The rest of his life, until his 90s, turned him into a celebrity like Einstein.  No matter that his houses seemed to have flaws because technology for construction did not match his visions.

Wright was unique and irritating and brilliant. His life-story here in a nutshell is organic and modernistic.