Does Frank Lloyd Wright Set the Wrong Tone for the GOP Convention?

With their stage design influenced by the architectural icon, Christopher Hawthorne looks at the baggage the GOP inherits by riding Frank Lloyd Wright's caped coattails.
August 27, 2012, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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While Barack Obama's famous 2008 Democratic convention speech was set before a backdrop of Greek columns (as Mitt Romney reminded us last weekend), this year the GOP is going for a more homey look. Featuring large video screens framed in "wood," the design of the stage for the Republican National Convention, which begins this week in Tampa, is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's residential architecture, "which often featured long horizontal bands of wood-framed windows."

Although the references are faint, Hawthorne sees a risk in the symbolism of Wright and the connection to Ayn Rand. He points out that, "when Ryan steps behind the lectern to accept the vice presidential nomination next week, he'll be sharing the stage with Rand's ghost, a specter he has been trying to outrun for weeks."

"Ryan has done his best to move away from Rand in the last couple of years. Explaining her atheism and support for abortion, in particular, began to seem like more trouble than it was worth for a rising star in the 21st century GOP," cautions Hawthorne. 

"As for Wright, let's put it this way: He was no standard-bearer for conservative values. He grew his hair long and liked to wear a cape. His political views were far from consistent, but he leaned left and was accused of distrusting capitalism and even, on occasion, of having Communist ties."

Will architecture geeks be the only ones to take notice or will the ever-expanding chorus of pundits make note of the connection? Tune in this week to find out. 

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Published on Saturday, August 25, 2012 in Los Angeles Times
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