The spin on Louis Sullivan
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Sullivan's swirling, rotating, counter-clockwise and centrifugal forces danced across the ceiling, repeated at intervals. He builds in you the tension we "naturally" feel between the organic and the geometric; as in the tension between straight line and curve, male and female, city and nature, indoor and outdoor, private and public, one and many, Federal and Antifederal.
A century before Sullivan's Auditorium, mostly on the east coast, Americans debated between the Federalists and the Antifederalists. Alexander Hamilton advocating order over anarchy; Thomas Jefferson advocating freedom over tyranny. Here in the first truly American city - Chicago - Louis Sullivan balances the debate.
Sullivan's desires and prescription for how to live are shown in this geometric framing with the organic at the prime place of importance- the center. The organic even grown out over the geometric. As the fine exhibition wall text says, "encountering a potentially obstructive architectural molding as it nears the outer edge, the leaves refuse to be stopped." Their life force is great, unstoppable, and they reach with determination.
Sullivan's protege´ Frank Lloyd Wright will develop this, based on his encounters with Sullivan and other great art from various places and periods. In his plans for modern houses, Wright radiates the wings outward from the center - often the hearth - as at Wright's Wingspread (1938) - the Herbert F. Johnson house - just north of Racine, Wisconsin.