Frank Lloyd's 150th birthday is June 8, and two of the houses he designed – the Darwin Martin House in Buffalo and the Graycliff in Derby – will host a week of activities to celebrate the anniversary.
There is good reason for the celebration, according a curator for the Museum of Modern Art, who will be in Buffalo on Monday as part of the weeklong anniversary.
The Martin House Complex's scholarly reputation is on the rise, said Barry Bergdoll, a curator in the museum's Department of Architecture and Design.
"The configuration of all the commissions around Martin and Wright is such a rich and vital story that I do think, with the restoration that they have done, and Toshiko Mori's visitor center, that Wright's Buffalo story is really emerging where it ought to be," he said.
The floricycle – Wright's landscaping plan for the Martin House Complex – also is drawing new scholarly attention, Bergdoll said.
"It's our first investigation for the show, and it leads off our catalog. It is an amazing drawing."
Bergdoll's talk on Monday will be followed by curators Ken Tadashi Oshima on July 7; Michael Desmond on Aug. 4; Mabel O. Wilson on Sept. 8.; and Jennifer Gray and Therese O'Malley on Oct. 6. The talks will be held in the Martin House's Greatbatch Pavilion at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35, $25 for members.
The rest of next week's events:
Tuesday – "Larkin Company Picnic Revisited," Graycliff, with a re-creation of the Larkin Company picnics held a century ago in the Town of Evans, 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 to $18.
Wednesday – "D-I-Y Design Day," Martin House, with interactive design stations. Free.
Thursday – "Big Birthday Party," Martin House, with discounted and $1.50 self-guided tours. Evening birthday celebration from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Friday – "24 Hours of Graycliff," with a campout, campfire, night sky viewing, catered breakfast and morning walk on Lake Erie beach. Free.
Saturday – "Family Fun Day," Martin House, with Ted's Hot Dogs food truck and live music. Free.
Sunday – "Heard Around Buffalo,"Martin House, with live music and barbecue. Free.
For more information on the week's events, visit darwinmartinhouse.org and graycliffestate.org.
Bergdoll said the re-created Martin House Complex is drawing scholarly interest and a rise in esteem.
"Wright's Robie House has loomed as the culminating moment of the prairie houses, but the Martin House is equally sophisticated and certainly a much more lavish commission," Bergdoll said, referring to the Frederick Robie House in Chicago.
"One could describe all the steps as to why the Robie House came to dominate our view, but I would pick the Martin House, actually, because the pinwheel plan is so much clearer and the prairie project is totally mature in the Martin House."
The weeklong Wright commemoration comes as state grants of $5 million each for the Martin and Graycliff estates will allow both to complete all outstanding restoration work by the end of 2018.