SC Johnson Opens New Frank Lloyd Wright Gallery, Free to Public
“At Home with Frank Lloyd Wright” Exhibit Now Open on Company’s Wright-Designed Campus
RACINE, Wis., (May 30, 2012) /PRNewswire/ — Beginning June 2, architecture fans can explore Frank Lloyd Wright’s transformative Prairie-Style designs at a new, free gallery opening on SC Johnson’s historic Wright-designed campus. The SC Johnson Gallery: At Home with Frank Lloyd Wright showcases a rotating selection of Wright’s designs and artifacts and explores the legendary architect’s influence on families and the American home.
“SC Johnson’s history with Frank Lloyd Wright spans many decades, and his impact on our headquarters campus is enduring. But Wright’s influence goes beyond that, to the home,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “My family has a long appreciation for Wright’s vision, and we are thrilled to open this exhibit here in Racine – another unique attraction for people to experience when they visit.”
The Gallery is housed in SC Johnson’s Foster + Partners-designed Fortaleza Hall, also home to the Frank Lloyd Wright Research Library which features a collection of more than 800 items. The Gallery is co-curated by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, Archives Director at Taliesin West, Ariz., and Brady Roberts, Chief Curator of the Milwaukee Art Museum.
“We carefully selected items – including many never exhibited before – to bring Wright’s Prairie-Style designs to life,” said Pfeiffer, who worked with Wright before the architect died in 1959 and has been the driving force of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives since then. “Not only was Wright influenced by natural landscapes to design homes that organically fit into its surroundings, but he also believed that each home’s furnishings were an integral part of its design, which is evident in the artifacts you’ll see in The Gallery.”
Wright’s Prairie-Style Comes Alive
During the early 20th century, Wright developed a philosophical foundation for his work based on how people connect with nature. This notion shaped his highly influential Prairie-Style homes from 1899-1909, which established his reputation as a world-famous architect. Simultaneously, Wright and several other architects from the Midwest came to be known collectively as “The Prairie School.” This group preferred an architecture style that stressed horizontality in houses – the line of the prairie – and evolved into a style in which rooms opened unto each other and extended the spatial enclosure into the site.
These architectural elements are explored in The Gallery; highlights include:
- Reception chair, Frank Lloyd Wright Studio, 1895, Oak Park, Ill.
- Library Table, Edward C. Waller House, remodel, 1899, River Forest, Ill.
- Slant-back dining chair, Hillside Home School, 1902, Spring Green, Wis.
- Hanging lamp, William R. Heath House, 1903, Buffalo, N.Y.
- Flag and Balloon Window (architect’s sample window), Coonley Playhouse, 1912, Riverside, Ill.
- Weed-holder, 1895
The Prairie-Style exhibit is the first in an annual series of exhibits at The Gallery, done in collaboration with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Rather than simply reflecting one period of Wright’s work, the collection will continue to explore Wright’s influence on the home throughout his career – from Wright’s earliest exploration of the natural house in the late 1800s through his American System-Built pre-cut housing venture of 1917 to his reinvention of the American home in 1940. The collection will also feature artifacts from the mid-1950s, when his work reached legendary scale.
SC Johnson and Frank Lloyd Wright – A Storied Relationship
The SC Johnson Gallery is the result of a July 2011 agreement between SC Johnson and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation for a long-term loan of a collection of Wright artifacts. The agreement was the newest chapter in a relationship that started more than 70 years ago.
In 1935, H.F. Johnson, Jr., third generation company leader, returned from his historic trip to Fortaleza, Brazil, invigorated and energetic. At that time, designs were in development for the company’s Administration Building. With his renewed outlook, Johnson sought out Frank Lloyd Wright for new designs with a more modern approach. Last year marked the 75th anniversary of the meeting between Johnson and Wright, which resulted in the commission of the SC Johnson Administration Building. Eight years later, Wright also designed the Research Tower. Thousands of tourists and architecture enthusiasts visit SC Johnson’s global headquarters each year to see Wright’s renowned designs.
Visit The Gallery
To celebrate The Gallery opening, SC Johnson has expanded hours for visitors. Three tour programs which run from 1 hour to 3.5 hours are offered. Tours are on Fridays and Saturdays and are all free of charge. They include:
- The Legacies Tour (3.5 hours) – SC Johnson’s headquarters is home to remarkable legacies by inspired leaders. In this in-depth, 3.5-hour tour, explore the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Administration Building as well as the award-winning Foster + Partners-designed Fortaleza Hall with the Spirit of Carnaúba airplane soaring at its heart. See Sam Johnson’s acclaimed film Carnaúba: A Son’s Memoir, with its enduring family message, and enjoy the Academy Award-winning documentary To Be Alive! This tour also includes The SC Johnson Gallery: At Home with Frank Lloyd Wright.
- The Landmarks Tour (2 hours) – Designed in 1936, the Administration Building was the first project that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for SC Johnson. Renowned for its unique dendriform columns, open concept half-acre of workspace, circular “bird cage” elevators and 43 miles of glass tubing, this landmark is celebrated as one of the top 25 buildings of the 20th century. In this 2-hour tour, explore the Administration Building and visit the award-winning Foster + Partners-designed Fortaleza Hall. Then, enjoy The SC Johnson Gallery: At Home with Frank Lloyd Wright.
- The Gallery Tour (1 hour) – The 1-hour Gallery Tour is designed for those who want to focus on the new SC Johnson Gallery and its debut exhibit.
The Lily Pad, a unique gift shop featuring exclusive SC Johnson memorabilia and Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired items, is open in conjunction with all tours.
For more information on tours of the SC Johnson campus, please call (262) 260-2154, email Tours@scj.com, or use the online scheduling tool at www.scjohnson.com/visit
See More Wright
The Gallery adds to a number of Frank Lloyd Wright landmarks across the Midwest. Racine is situated in the midst of a 220-mile span between Oak Park, Ill. and Spring Green, Wis., and offers a unique look at Wright’s influence on both home and office. Additional works of architectural importance that sit within the 220-mile area include:
- Wingspread, the home Wright designed for the Johnson family in 1937, in Racine, Wis.
- Taliesin, Wright’s home and architectural laboratory in Spring Green, Wis.
- The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park, Ill.
- The Robie House in Chicago
- American System-Built homes in the Burnham Street Historic District, Milwaukee
- The Jacobs House in Madison, Wis.
“There is so much rich history on Frank Lloyd Wright in this concentrated area,” said Sean Malone, President and CEO, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. “Anyone interested in the architect’s life, history and visionary designs can pack in a number of stops in a weekend. We are confident that the addition of The Gallery at SC Johnson will enhance the Frank Lloyd Wright experience and make a visit to the architecture-rich area even more appealing to tourists and residents alike.”
About SC Johnson
SC Johnson is a family-owned and managed business dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, TANA®, BAMA®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR. MUSCLE®, and RIDSECT®. The 126-year-old company, that generates $9 billion in sales, employs nearly 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world. www.scjohnson.com