Museums collecting houses.

Back when the Farnsworth House was in trouble I asked honchos at the Art Institute of Chicago if they were interested in buying it. It certainly wasn’t that expensive, as masterpieces go, just 7 – 8 million bucks. Nothing when you consider that a far-less-interesting Jasper Johns painting can go for $80+ million. Anyway, the Art Institute wasn’t interested, they said they didn’t collect houses.

I also thought at the time that the then newly-flush (after an approximately 125 million dollar bequest) Poetry Foundation could buy the Farnsworth House and its land, and let poets reside there, be inspired and write. What could the Poetry Foundation do better with its money? They weren’t interested either. Nothing rhymed with ‘Farnsworth?’ Anyway, the saga ended well when Landmarks Illinois and the National Trust bought the darn thing at auction.

So I’m pleased to see that Los Angeles County Museum of Art Director Michael Govan is looking at houses – as potential museum pieces.

Edward Wyatt in the New York Times has the story.

(Govan’s) idea — one that has rarely, if ever, been tried on a large scale by a major museum — is to collect significant pieces of midcentury residential architecture, including houses by Rudolf M. Schindler, Richard Neutra, Frank Lloyd Wright, and his son Lloyd Wright, and to treat them as both museum objects and as residences for curators.

What a perk! I think it’s a great idea.

I like House Museums and I would like Museum Houses. For cities like LA, Chicago, and yours? – lucky enough to be blessed with inspired, inspiring dwellings.

If you get one of those really nice dwellings, I’d be happy to bring you a cup of sugar.


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