“Romanticism to Ruin” Exhibit at Wrightwood 659 in Lincoln Park

The Garrick Theater, ChicagoArchival image of the interior of The Garrick Theater, Chicago

This month a special exhibit will be available in Lincoln Park to curious Chicagoans. The Wrightwood 659 is presenting Romanticism to Ruin: Two Lost Works of Sullivan & Wright. This is a unique opportunity to view a dual exhibition that highlights two long-gone masterpieces: Louis H. Sullivan’s innovative Garrick Theatre in Chicago and Frank Lloyd Wright’s unprecedented Larkin Building, in Buffalo, New York.

Garrick Theater, Chicago

The Garrick Theater, Chicago 1900

Reconstructing the Garrick: Adler & Sullivan’s Lost Masterpiece was curated by John Vinci with Tim Samuelson, Chris Ware, and Eric Nordstrom, and Reimagining the Larkin: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Modern Icon was curated by Jonathan D. Katz; both attempt to bring an in-depth look at the profound impact of these remarkable buildings.

The exhibits page states that “Louis Sullivan’s Garrick Theatre Building in Chicago stood for only 69 years and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Building in Buffalo lasted only 44 years, and yet, these buildings continue to resonate, far outlasting their physical presence.” The loss of these buildings directly inspired national conversations surrounding the preservation of historic sites. These conversations are what eventually led to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 ensuring that similar constructions would be spared a similar fate.

Through the use of 3D models, digital re-creations, programs and posters, other surviving objects, and archival photographs, Romanticism to Ruin details the triumph and demise of two iconic buildings, and the legacies which resonate today.

The Larkin

The Larkin, 1934

The exhibit is only available to view on Saturdays through February 26. Those interested will need to secure tickets in advance at the Wrightwood 659’s website.

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