ARC 331 discussion board: TOPIC 03 (Due Monday, February 26 at 1 PM CST)

TOPIC 03: Frank Lloyd Wright

Post: Read Wright’s essay, “The Art and Craft of the Machine,” at least through the paragraph quoted below. In a short paragraph, explain your understanding of how Wright relates to William Morris: is he more an heir to Arts and Crafts ideals, or does he take a significant departure from that earlier movement?

Is it not more likely that the medium of artistic expression itself has broadened and changed until a new definition and new direction must be given the art activity of the future, and that the Machine has finally made for the artist, whether he will yet own it or not, a splendid distinction between the Art of old and the Art to come? A distinction made by the tool which frees human labor, lengthens and broadens the life of the simplest man, thereby the basis of the Democracy upon which we insist.

56 Comments

  1. Reply
    Davis Burchett February 23, 2018

    I think that Wright sees himself as the heir to Morris’ ideas. He recognizes that Morris was reacting against the machine, and seems to support Morris’ decisions, citing the fact that during Morris’ time, machines did contribute to the suffering of people. He also seems to insinuate that machines were just too new, artists couldn’t do anything with them. Now, in Wright’s time, Wright sees machines as the main way to human flourishing. Because machines are so helpful to providing for everyone, Wright thinks it is now the time for artists to start to embrace the machine as the basis of a new type of art and craft. He wants to leave behind Morris’ emphasis on traditional, hand-driven crafts, while taking Morris’ ethos of the artist and the craftsman working in tandem to create art. He wants artists to learn from machinists and scientists, and machinists and scientists in turn to learn form artists. So to say it succinctly, I think Wright is carrying Morris’ idea of artists and producers having a strong connection, and the importance of the artist understanding production methods, but he recognizes that there is a change in what those methods of production are going to be.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      Do you suppose he really witnessed a development in the capacity of “the machine,” or did he just feel it was inevitable, and recognize that Morris’ ideals were a bit too utopian to ever be realized?

    • Reply
      Samuel Barber March 2, 2018

      I agree with Davis. I think that Wright was actually not against Morris’ views on the arts and crafts movement. I think that Davis is right in saying that Wright was more for the use of machines than Morris was though. I think that that is the main difference in each of their overall styles. Wright has an appreciation for the machine while Morris does not.

  2. Reply
    Kate Davenport February 25, 2018

    In Wright’s essay, “The Art and Craft of the Machine,” he neither fully apposes William Morris in his Arts and Crafts ideals, or fully agrees. From what I read, there are both negative and positive elements to fully adapting to to the Arts and Crafts movement and fully adapting to the “Machine.” To Wright, the Machine is a tool that makes work easier for people to do, therefore, leading to a lack of effort. For example, he first explains that it cheapens art through quantity over quality, and draws people away from making an effort to create beautiful art. While he expresses his distaste for the Machine, he then describes that proper use of the Machine can actually help to create things that are more beautiful that with out it, his example being wood veneer. Based off of this brief summary, I believe that Wright did depart from the central Arts and Crafts ideals, but did not stray so far as to ignore the value that beautiful, handmade, and custom art pieces bring into architecture.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      What about the nature of the handiwork itself, and the “spiritual” quality of a worker’s making of an art-object?

      • Reply
        Eddy Kalinda March 2, 2018

        Adding to what Kate said, One of the world’s leading authorities on the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright unveils a previously unknown collection of art prints that reveals Wright’s artistic affinities with the modernism of the European Secessionist movements.Which I believe that was the characteristic that driven the spiritual quality of all people that worked with him.

    • Reply
      Rebekah Matson March 2, 2018

      I like how you said Wright does not fully appose or agree with William Morris. I agree that he did not continue the movement directly, but also didn’t completely stray from it. I think that Wright enjoyed the work, but since he supported and adapted to the machines, he was not fully capable of achieving the high level of detail associated with Arts and Crafts.

    • Reply
      Connor Brown March 2, 2018

      I agree with Kate that Wright was neither fully for or against William Morris in his viewpoint on the Machine. He saw both benefits and disadvantages of both sides. While the Machine is a more efficient tool in producing work, it sacrifices quantity over the quality of arts and crafts. The loss of craftsmanship is one of the main concerns addressed in this essay.

  3. Reply
    Ryan Pickhardt February 25, 2018

    From what I gathered through Wright’s essay, he was not opposed to William Morris’s work. In fact, he mentions how Morris was a very talented artist for his time. Though, Wright disagrees that machine should be embraced unlike Morris who strays away from them. He goes on to talk about how the invention of the printing press bettered architecture and is an example about how we shouldn’t hide from something new. I believe that Wright is an heir to the Arts and Crafts ideals, but also breaks away enough to define a new form of architecture. Though the Arts and Crafts movement was about creating handmade buildings, it was also about beautification. Wright keeps the beauty and detail of the movement, but he uses the machine as a way to aid his designs.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      Take another look at that section on the printing press, and its Renaissance context. Was that a high or low point in architectural development, in FLW’s view? Also, the development of a “new form” of architecture–is that your contribution to this discussion or do you think FLW is saying that’s an important thing?

  4. Reply
    Eunice Slanwa February 26, 2018

    In his essay, when writing about William Morris, Wright states that Morris “did the best in his time for the art.” This phrasing is important because Wright respects the Arts and Crafts movement, however he departs significantly from it, especially in the regard of the machine. The Arts and Crafts movement was a reaction against the Industrial Revolution, and it viewed it as “a terrible engine of enslavement, deluging the civilized world with a murderous ubiquity, which plainly enough was the damnation of their art and craft.” This is why handmade work was emphasized, rather than machine produced. Wright understands how this was appropriate for Morris “in his time,” because then the machine had not yet advanced to where it is now. So, looking futuristically, he embraces the use of the machine, and sees that it opens new opportunities and improvements in design.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      Do you think the “machine” had really advanced? Does Wright give evidence of that? Or is he just accepting that it’s inevitable?

    • Reply
      Davis Burchett March 2, 2018

      Eunice, I agree with your conclusion, Wright sees the machine as the future of art, and to a certain extent sees the Arts & Crafts as a movement that will ultimately hold back art from discovering new frontiers. I think it’s interesting to note that he keeps Morris’ mentality of artists understanding the processes that are used to create things, I remember a paragraph where he talks about how he wants schools that would have artists and scientists working side-by-side, because a better understanding of industrial processes is part of what will create the new machine-created art.

      To Dr. Amundson’s question (which is essentially the same for both of our posts) Wright does not provide evidence that the machine had advanced per se, he relies on his readers’ experience to confirm that machines have improved lives since the 1870’s. I think he is also very optimistic about the inevitability of industrialization further improving everyone’s lives. Maybe he sees Morris as being overly utopian in that Morris thinks art can remain the same while everything else is being radically changed by the machine.

  5. Reply
    Randy Renteria February 26, 2018

    In the essay The Art And Craft Of The Machine, Wright relates to William Morris on taking a significant departure from the earlier movement. At the beginning of the article wright describes how Morris was not for the machine, “William Morris himself deeply sensed the danger to the art of the transforming force whose sign and symbol is the machine”. Morris is cautioned to what the machine would do to art and was despaired, however wright explains that Morris quickly renewed his hope. Wright additionally explains how the machine has given art a new style, explaining it was a movement to a new art to come. Wright describes his excitement for the movement as he states, “The Machine is Intellect mastering the drudgery of earth that the plastic art may live; that the margin of leisure and strength by which man’s life upon the earth can be made beautiful, may immeasurably widen; its function ultimately to emancipate human expression!” The machine is a technology that has given the Arts and Crafts ideals a new direc and deftion as explained by Wright.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      This is a good summary of points, but what is really Wright’s position about Morris?

  6. Reply
    Samuel Barber February 26, 2018

    I think that Frank Lloyd Wright does not see himself as an heir of the Arts and Crafts ideals. I think that he was wanting to depart from that movement into something new. This can be seen when Wright says, “…I hope, to prove, that the machine is capable of carrying to fruition high ideals in art – higher than the world has yet seen! Disciples of William Morris cling to an opposite view.” I think that this quote shows a definite distinction between what Wright wanted, and what Morris wanted. Although I do think that Wright pursued his new ideas with a lasting respect for Morris which can be seen when he says, “All artists love and honor William Morris. He did the best in his time…”

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      Can you “love” a predecessor and avoid his influence?

    • Reply
      Deyglis Castillo March 2, 2018

      I agree with Sam. I think that FLW respectfully disagreed with Morris but was not at all for the machine. FLW says that even though the machine surely raises the level of human intelligence….it is
      deadly engine of enslavement because of the greed in Morris’ time and even our own time. But it wasn’t the machine itself that was something bad, it was the greed that exists in people that can make something good turn bad.

    • Reply
      Rebekah Matson March 2, 2018

      I don’t agree with you on how you think Frank Lloyd Wright doesn’t see himself as an heir of the arts and crafts movement. From my understanding, Wright loved the work done by Morris. If anything, I think Wright was using the machines to improve the already successful movement.

      • Reply
        Eddy Kalinda March 2, 2018

        I disagree with Sam, because I think Frank Lloyd Wright did appreciate and was also influenced by the artistic knowledge of William Morris. Because one of the world’s leading authorities on the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright unveils a previously unknown collection of art prints that reveals Wright’s artistic affinities with the modernism of the European Secessionist movements.

    • Reply
      Daniel Becker March 2, 2018

      I would disagree with this comment as I see Wrights intention to only build on the foundation of earlier artists and architects. I think Wright loved the arts and crafts ideas but also loved efficiency and production thus he fought to combine the two while still staying true to the past ideas.

    • Reply
      Parker Done March 3, 2018

      The way Wright says that the ideals of Morris were good for that point in time seems almost condescending as if his own ideals are more evolved. However, when looking at Wright’s work, it seems pretty evident that he was heavily influenced by Morris’ movement.

  7. Reply
    Rebekah Matson February 26, 2018

    Wright relates to William Morris through their stylistic approaches, but varies from him over their differing views on technology. Wright is inspired by the work that Willam Morris has done, and goes to the extent of saying every artist loves and honors him. He thinks that earlier architecture is bland and missing something, which shows his level of dedication to the Arts and Crafts movement. Wright carries on the stylistic approaches that are formed in the Arts and Crafts movement. However, he is not a direct heir, as he has a positive view towards the use of technology. He says that great architecture uses the tools that are available at the time, and seems eager to use it within his work. Most Arts and Crafts architects, including Morris, despised the use of technology, which is what sets Wright apart from them.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      Which earlier architecture was “bland,” and on what basis?

    • Reply
      Connor Brown March 2, 2018

      I agree that even though William Morris and Wright differ in their views on using new technological tools, Wright is still able to relate to Morris and understand his perspective because of their same approach to style. What Morris didn’t really anticipate was that Wright was still capable of using the new technology for the Arts and Crafts without having to worry about “blandness.”

  8. Reply
    Deyglis Castillo February 26, 2018

    It seems that Wright takes a significant departure from the earlier movement of William Morris. It seems to me that Wright thinks that change in art is inevitable and that artists from everywhere will adhere to new forms as time goes by and new things regarding arts are discovered/experimented with.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      But what of the “love and honor” aspect of his regard for Morris, both as an artist and a humanitarian?

  9. Reply
    Daniel Becker February 26, 2018

    Wright gives great respect to Morris at the start of his essay and points out how in morris’s time the machine was taken away from the arts and craft movement that Morris fought for. Wright continues to talk about how the machine is a great danger to the society, however, seems to fall to the conclusion that new technology has always been used during its time. It is with experimentation that one knows its true outcome and the machine, however, dangerous it may be, opens up new Opportunites in today’s society. I would argue that Wright is an heir to the arts and crafts ideas as he too fights for the same ideals. He views Morris’s ideas as imported but rather with new technologies to help rather society.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      Is “taken away from” the right phrase in that sentence? What do you mean by that; who did the “taking,” and how does that relate to Wright’s approach to “the machine”?

    • Reply
      Kyle Drenth March 2, 2018

      Dan, I agree with what you said about Wright being fond of the arts and crafts movement since he did have great respect for small ornamentation like the sculpted wood entablature in his home in studio in Oak Park. However, I think that Wright wanted to take advantage of both the artistry of the hand in addition to the use of machinery. I think that Wright wanted to explore this balance in his art and architecture.

  10. Reply
    Kyle Drenth February 26, 2018

    From this quote, out of Wright’s essay, “The Art and Craft of the Machine”, Wright is expressing how much he embraces and despises “the machine” in the world of arts and crafts. Wright begins to talk about how much the machine endangers the followers of William Morris who are for the craft of actual artists and not some machine. Machines were thought to bring a kind of slavery and dehumanization of artistry. Despite this, Wright believed that, “the machine is capable of carrying to fruition high ideals in art…” Wright also believed that throughout history, every era used the best tools that were available in order to make art. With this logic, why should the machine be any different or unqualified to be used? Wright later goes on to say that the machine may possibly be destroying the handcrafted nature of artists, but it also represents Democracy in a way that prolongs the life of the average man.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      Do you think he thought something had changed, or was “the machine” just an inevitability at this point?

    • Reply
      Daniel Becker March 2, 2018

      Kyle, This is a great overview of Wright’s essay. I would find it Interesting if Wright would have the same perspective in today’s society with all the technological advancements made in the last 10-15 years. Overall I see where wright is coming from when he said “use the best tools we have” I strongly agree with this idea in the workforce however when it comes to the artistic expression I can see where this is not always the best.

  11. Reply
    Morgan Dykema February 26, 2018

    I would say that Frank Lloyd Wright is more of an heir to the movement. Wright is still trying to follow the arts and craft movement but does make a few changes. The main difference is his ideas on the machine. Wright talks about how William Morris is loved and honored by all artist. Wright follows the arts and crafts movement stylistically but takes a more modern approach with technology. He explains why William Morris was against the machinery because of the time period but it has since changed. He said that the machine then was born of greed, a terrible engine of enslavement and was the damnation of their art and craft. He argues that the machine had not advanced enough to work more quickly and efficiently as it does now. I do believe that Frank Lloyd Wright followed the styles of the arts and craft movement but changed it from the way William Morris had practiced it because of the change in time. Although he did change slightly I do not think that is was too significant of a move away from the movement.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      What do you mean by “more modern approach with technology”? In comparison to who/what?

  12. Reply
    McKenna Kritsch February 26, 2018

    Wright has distinguished himself as an entirely different thinker from William Morris. While Morris “threw himself, body and soul, into the work of bridging it over by bridging into our lives afresh the beauty of art as she had been” (1) as a response to the rise of the machine. Wright says that though Morris’s and even Ruskin’s way of thinking was justified then, any “in the field of art activity will do great harm” (6) if they think about it that way now. He says that “machinery has been invented for no other reason than to imitate” (7) and that we should be learning from the art of the machine instead. Wright sees the artist as being able to interpret and compose based on his interpretation of previous work. The Arts and Crafts movement now is simply a replication of the movement that Morris encouraged at the start of the machine. “Teach him that the machine is his best friend” (10) and not simply a means to replicating. Wright’s departure from the earlier movement encourages participating in the progress of the machine and what it means for new architecture.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      “Entirely,” really? Also, lost your train of thought toward the end: Arts and Crafts is a replication of Morris’ movement? But isn’t it actually Morris’ movement?
      Also, if we look ahead to someone like Gropius fully embracing “the machine,” does that alter your thinking about Wright’s stance?

  13. Reply
    Joanna Daniyam February 26, 2018

    The Arts and Crafts movement came about as a response to the development of the machine and to reassert the value of hand craftsmanship. William Morris, one of the main advocates, believed that there was “danger to art of the transforming force whose sign and symbol is the machine.” After reading the essay, I believe that Wright understood where Morris was coming from and his problem with the machines, but he also believed that the machine was a step forward in the right direction. Wright saw “a gradually deepening conviction that in the Machine lies the only future of art and craft.” Hence, I would say he took a significant departure from the Arts and Crafts ideal. Wright gathered that the machine was more destructive during the time of Morris, recognizing that the machines had not advanced to what they are now. He believed that with the advancement of the machines, was a bright future ahead.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      Does he make a good case to explain why/how machines had “advanced,” or is he just accepting them as inevitable?

  14. Reply
    Ryan Ayres February 26, 2018

    From the way I understood the article, it seems that Frank Lloyd Wright leaned more on the side of clinging to the Arts and Crafts ideals. In the article he talks about the machines and their ability to now create things that have never been seen before. While some may view this idea negatively, Wright sees it as an opportunity to better produce design elements that might not have been done before or just enhance the way they are crafted. William Morris believed that the machine took away a certain level of craftsmanship, but Wright viewed it as a positive way to simply make things better. He sees it as a new wave of art for the future, which he describes as a way to distinct old art from new ones. While I’m sure Wright agrees with Morris on some points, I think Wright does not mind the Arts and Crafts Movement and sees it as a positive direction for design.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      If the Arts & Crafts movement (founded by Ruskin/Morris) was adamantly opposed to machines, how does Wright’s “positive view” keep in line with them?

    • Reply
      Samuel Barber March 2, 2018

      I agree with this idea. I think that what is said about Wright and the way he viewed the machine makes sense. It seems that Wright was not against Morris’ ideas, instead he just wanted to use the machine to further develop his designs. So I think Wright and Morris’ opinions were similar in design, but they had different views on the value of the machine.

  15. Reply
    Daniel Bitner February 26, 2018

    Wright does not take a significant departure from relating to William Morris and the arts and crafts movement. Wright acknowledges that Morris was the first reaction to the new machine-filled world and an attempt to save art as it been before the machines. Wright takes the position that art for art’s sake and machines for machine’s sake both have positives and negatives. He looks to combine the two in a happy medium, knowing that one will not exist without the other. Wright works with architecture to celebrate art, but is not afraid of the power of industry on architecture.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      If he embraces industry, how is that not a “significant departure” from Morris?

    • Reply
      Davis Burchett March 2, 2018

      Daniel, I disagree with your conclusion. While I think Wright is a significant departure from Morris, I do not think that Wright is looking for a happy medium. I think Wright was advocating for art to change in response to the machine. The two were to be combined in the sense that he thought that artists could learn from industry and industry from art, but I think that is different from combining art and industry. Wright sees the machine fundamentally changing society, and he thinks that the best art of this machine-centric age will come from artists who allow the machine to change the way that they approach art.

    • Reply
      Kyle Drenth March 2, 2018

      Dan,
      I liked what you said about how Wright sought to join the two forces/ techniques of making art (both by hand and machine). I agree with this attitude because theres no sense in outwardly denying the abilities machines can offer to artists who know how to use them. They are a resource worth taking advantage of. What kinds of art do you believe Wright advocated for because of the new use of machinery?

  16. Reply
    Parker Done February 26, 2018

    While Wright does recognize the value of Morris’ ideals of the lesser arts, he clearly deviates from the principles of the earlier movement. Morris and those tied to his movement emphasized the emotional value in a thing that is made by hand. In contrast, Wright feels like the use of technology to create art can mean new horizons in design.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      What’s his description of the use of tools w/in Morris’ framework?

      • Reply
        Eunice Slanwa March 1, 2018

        Parker, I agree with you that Morris and designers and artist in the Arts and Crafts Movement saw the emotional value of hand-made things. They were reacting to the negative aspects of the Industrial Revolution, and rejecting the use of machine all together. Wright on the other hand focuses on the advantages of the machines, and tries to push that forward.

  17. Reply
    Eddy Kalinda February 26, 2018

    I believe that Frank Lloyd Wright takes a significant departure from the earlier movement. Because he cared about the beauty of a building even though his was trained by Sullivan who was more about the functionality of a building. So Frank Lloyd Wright wanted to bring Function and craftsmanship together. In such away that the exterior facade should be exemplifying the beauty,aesthetic and also function of it. But during his era , his was forced to turn more into mass production because of the industrial revolution, but he still followed his concept which was appreciated and loved by Americans. he also agreed with The arts and crafts of the machine movement, whereby we found William morris emphasizing on craftmansship and aesthetic of an object or a building.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      What specifically in the essay stands out to you? Is functionality a significant consideration?

    • Reply
      Eunice Slanwa March 1, 2018

      You mentioned that Wright was “forced” to turn to the use of machine. I think that is an interesting was of interpreting Wright’s view on the machine. I assumed that Wright just loved the machine, and that is why he advocated for it. However, what you are suggesting is that regardless of whether he liked it or not, it was inevitable, so he was “forced” to work with it and see how it can be used positively to improve design.

  18. Reply
    Connor Brown February 26, 2018

    Wright is more of an heir to the Art of the Machine. Although in his study of William Morris he clearly understood the dangers to this art perceived by him, he also redeems it with a small hope. It is mainly the abuse of this machine’s power that William was afraid of. Morris was even using its tools to do his work while he was still arguing for the machine’s abuse. Wright highlights the advantages and disadvantages of the machine. While it is excellent for producing work of simplicity, its function ultimately emancipates human expression. Poor artists are swiftly destroyed through the medium of the Machine. Yet, he agrees with Morris that every age tries to produce work with the best tools they have because they conserves human effort. Thus, the machine, though its dangerous power destroys some forms of art, is the best tool for carrying out work.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 27, 2018

      What do you think FLW believes is the best way to determine how to properly use it?

    • Reply
      Deyglis Castillo March 2, 2018

      I agree with some of the things that FLW says about the machine when it comes to producing work of simplicity but do not agree with it having the power to destroy some forms of art. I believe that the Machine should be looked at as a form of art itself and perhaps a different, or an additional way for creating art and that maybe it wasn’t created to replace human effort completely but to give us another alternative. Every human is different and has different ways in which they express themselves, it may be that some people find the machine the only way to express their art or that they learned to even express themselves through the introduction of the machine.

      • Reply
        Parker Done March 3, 2018

        I think it is important to realize that machines are made by people, so whatever they produce is ultimately man made. However, Morris insists that things made by machine lose a certain emotional value, no matter how aesthetic it may be.

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