Friday, May 18, 2007


Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural drawings are beautiful abstract designs that compare well with any fine art. At the same time, Wright's work had to comply with the laws of engineering and plumbing. The result is a marvelous blend of art and science.

One reason I often prefer illustration to today's "fine" art is that illustration is more engaged in the world. It is robust and vulgar and dynamic in an era when so much of gallery art is self-indulgent, narcissistic and pallid.

Architecture may be the ultimate example of art that is "engaged in the world." Wright's art required him to wrestle with gravity and structural engineering the way Jacob wrestled with the angel. That struggle grounded his work in the world, giving his drawings an inherent strength, relevance, and ultimately-- legitimacy.

Some of Wright's fine art counterparts who created "art for art's sake" did not need permission to take liberties with form-- they simply took it. They were left with nothing to wrestle with but their press agents and gallery owners, and it shows.