Living in America: Frank Lloyd Wright, Harlem & Modern Housing



Schell Lewis, perspective drawing, 1935; Horace Ginsbern Papers, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York

September 8 to December 17, 2017


How to live in America together?  The exhibit, Living in America: Frank Lloyd Wright, Harlem & Modern Housing will off two different approaches – where American housing intersect along racial and socioeconomic lines.  “Both stories connect social institutions, such as the nuclear family, with economic structures, such as private property, or its alternatives.  Wright’s version of the “American Dream” and Harlem’s public housing both reflect disparities, conflicts, and aspirations that remain part of American life today.”  The exhibit offers two parallel narratives and  the “ideas are as relevant today as they were then.”

The materials on display date from the late 1920s to the late 1950s and will trace Broadacre’s inception in 1935 “and its afterlife in much of Wright’s later work alongside the 1936 groundbreaking of the Harlem River Houses ….”  “Its social consequences, from the structure of the nuclear family to debates about the privatization of public space.”

Living in America: Frank Lloyd Wright, Harlem & Modern Housing will be on view from September 8 to December 17, 2017, with an Opening Reception on September 8 from 6-8pm at Wallach Art Gallery, Lenfest Center for the Arts, Columbia University located at 615 West 129th Street, West of Broadway.

This exhibit is presented in tandem with MoMA’s current show Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, which is on view to October 1.


Roy E. Petersen; Section B, Broadacre City model, Taliesin, 1935; Photograph; The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

The Gallery and related programming (below) are free and open to the public.

September 28–29
The question of how to live in America preoccupied many architects and planners—from Frank Lloyd Wright to the consortium behind Harlem’s first public housing proposals—in the mid-twentieth century. This symposium gathers scholars of mid–20th Century housing for a conversation that bridges what might otherwise seem like disparate realms of inquiry in order to reassess received histories and to provoke new questions about how we live in America, together, today.
September 28, The Museum of Modern Art
6pm, Viewing of Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive
7–8:30pm, Symposium Keynote Presentation, Dianne Harris, University of Utah
Please register before September 25 to
September 29, The Lantern at Columbia University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts
10 AM, Symposium speakers are Shiben Banerji, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Jana Cephas, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan; Brian Goldstein, Swarthmore College; Jennifer Gray, The Museum of Modern Art; Jennifer Hock, Maryland Institute College of Art; Catherine Maumi, the Grenoble School of Architecture; Kevin McGruder, Antioch College; and Joseph Watson, University of British Columbia. Cosponsored by Columbia School of the Arts.
Please register at

Family Day
October 7, 1-3pm
An afternoon of artmaking activities that invites families to reimagine their homes and communities.

Roundtable: Public Housing Today
November 1, 6-7:30pm
This conversation carries the Living in America exhibition premise forward, considering current challenges for New York City public housing.

Saturday Gallery Talks
October 21, November 4 and December 2 at 1pm
All talks meet at the Wallach Art Gallery entrance.


The Art Ensemble of Chicago Tribute to Joseph Jarman in Harlem will be the first public performance at Lenfest Center for the Arts. The concert will be held on Friday, October 6th. Tickets available after September 12th.  More information on Harlem World.